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KY 'Legal Eagle for Poor and Seniors' Earns Top Honor

November 5, 2010

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. - An Eastern Kentucky man who has dedicated his life to providing legal services to the poor and senior citizens has earned the AARP Kentucky top volunteer honor. John Rosenberg, an attorney and retired founder of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, is the recipient of the group's 2010 Andrus Award for Community Service.

Phil Peters, state director of AARP, says the group can serve the needs and address issues of 50-plus age citizens only through the help of volunteers.

"Whether we're working in Frankfort on legislation to protect consumers or we're doing education activities out in the communities around the state, volunteers are our biggest asset and the ones that do most of the work in the communities."

The Andrus Award has been awarded in Kentucky for the last 10 years. It is named in honor of the group's founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.

Peters credits Rosenberg with revitalizing the AARP chapter in Prestonsburg, organizing membership and food drives, and leading legislative advocacy efforts to limit abusive payday lending and predatory loan practices.

Rosenberg says volunteers who provide tax assistance, push for nursing home procedure reforms and lobby against cuts to aging services expand the impact of the organization well beyond its membership.

"You just can't achieve alone with a small group of people what you can with 50 people wearing AARP t-shirts, all of whom are really committed to trying to see that something gets done."

Rosenberg's volunteer efforts with AARP and other community groups are a testament to the AARP founder's motto: "to serve, not to be served," Peters adds.

"He's a Holocaust survivor, came out Germany with his family right during the lead up to World War II, and is just an amazing person in every way. Kentucky has been very lucky that he decided to spend his life of service here."

Information about volunteer opportunities with AARP can be found at

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY