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Volunteering: Part of Life for 40% of Older Minnesotans

PHOTO: Sharlene Geraghty of Hastings was honored by AARP with the 2013 Minnesota Andrus Award for Community Service. Nominations for the 2014 award now are being accepted. Photo courtesy AARP Minnesota.
PHOTO: Sharlene Geraghty of Hastings was honored by AARP with the 2013 Minnesota Andrus Award for Community Service. Nominations for the 2014 award now are being accepted. Photo courtesy AARP Minnesota.
April 23, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The search is on to find and honor those older Minnesotans who are making a difference in their communities through their volunteer work.

Jay Haapala, associate state director for community outreach at AARP Minnesota, said the organization now is accepting nominations of those people who are sharing their experience, talent and skills to enrich the lives of others.

"The Andrus Award for Community Service is AARP's annual award for excellence in volunteerism and service to the community, for people who are 50-plus," he said. "I think a great candidate would be the person in your life or your community who is making things better for everyone."

Nominations for the 2014 Andrus Award for Community Service are being accepted by AARP Minnesota through June 1, either by phone or online.

The 2013 winner was Sharlene Geraghty of Hastings, who said she has spent years volunteering at hospitals, churches and with tax preparation and more.

"I like to give back to the community," she said. "I've had a good life, and it's very rewarding to help people who need help and can't find other ways to get it."

Geraghty's story is just one of many in Minnesota, where Haapala said nearly 40 percent of older adults do some volunteering, one of the highest rates in the nation.

"People in their retirement are not just sitting around and retiring from society and from their civic life," she said. "Instead, they have time and energy that they can contribute and make Minnesota a better place, and we're seeing that every day."

The winner for this year's Andrus Award will be announced in August and receive $1,000 to donate to the charity of their choosing.

More information is online at AARP.org/AndrusAward or 1-866-554-5381. Volunteer data is available at volunteeringinamerica.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN