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Seeking New Voice for Seniors in Kentucky

AARP Kentucky is looking for someone to replace its outgoing volunteer state president, Jim Kimbrough, as the "public voice" of the organization. (AARP)
AARP Kentucky is looking for someone to replace its outgoing volunteer state president, Jim Kimbrough, as the "public voice" of the organization. (AARP)
January 16, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky's population is aging and the organization best known for representing people 50 and over is seeking a new spokesman.

AARP Kentucky, with 470,000 members statewide, is looking for its next volunteer state president.

Rich Stonestreet has been state president in neighboring West Virginia for three years. He describes the role as the "public face" of the group.

"I view myself as a 'lead volunteer,'” he states. “I try to lead by example, have fun – I'm having a ball! I'm enjoying this greatly. If you think of it as a job, it's probably not for you."

The U.S. Census Bureau says the number of Kentuckians age 65 and older increased 2 percent from 2010 to 2015, and more than 15 percent of the state's population is now made up of senior citizens.

According to AARP, the volunteer president's position is unpaid, but all expenses are reimbursed. Information is on the group's website and applications are being accepted through Jan. 31.

Stonestreet, now 75, was a college chemistry professor and an organizer for a teachers' union before he retired. He volunteered with AARP for eight years before becoming state president in West Virginia.

Stonestreet says he testifies before the Legislature, moderates workshops and does community outreach. He also presides over the executive council, which advises the paid staff.

"Probably the most important message that I could ever convey about being president is, the volunteer state president and the state director are partners, and they must be in constant communication," he explains.

Jim Kimbrough has been in the voluntary position in Kentucky for six years, which is the limit for a state president's term.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY