AARP has an award for your community hero

AARP is accepting nominations for its 2018 Washington Andrus Award for Community Service, which honors Washingtonians 50 and better who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich the lives of their community members.

We know that you have seen and experienced the impact that a dedicated, caring and experienced volunteer can have on lives, programs, communities, and society. This is an opportunity to recognize that impact and to let an outstanding volunteer know their service is valued.

Please take a few moments to think about the exceptional people in your life – the neighborhood hero, the dedicated volunteer who is a consistent helping presence in your community, or the person who saw a problem and found a workable solution. Show your appreciation by nominating them for the Andrus Award.

“AARP Washington is excited to shine a light on Washingtonians who are using what they’ve learned in life to make a difference in the lives around them,” said AARP state director Doug Shadel.

Prior winners:

  • Last year, Kirkland resident Art Mussman was recognized for a lifetime of community service. His contributions include serving as a software developer for the Boeing Bluebills Heritage chapter, being a founding member of the Kirkland Senior Council, and championing aging in place, better housing and healthcare at the community level and in Olympia.
  • John Braasch has dedicated himself to helping homeless veterans who live on the Olympic Peninsula by founding the non-profit Voice for Veterans. The organization produces Stand Down events that offer veterans hot meals, medical and dental services, clothing and legal aid.  Those that attend are also connected to VA benefits, housing assistance, employment services, haircuts and veterinary supplies for their pets, all in a welcome, judgement-free zone.
  • In 2016, Leon Brauner was named the recipient of the Andrus Award for his commitment to helping those facing food disparities through the Ocean Shores Food Bank. In 2011, Brauner stepped in to fill the shoes of the former director. Since that time, he has significantly increased the number of volunteers, created a grocery store atmosphere at the food bank, and instituted a “Good Nutrition Policy” plan, led by volunteers who have completed a university-based online training.

Nominations for the 2018 award will be evaluated by a combination of AARP Washington staff and volunteers based on how the volunteer’s work has improved the community, supported AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers. In addition to receiving the award, AARP Washington will donate $2,000 to an approved and registered charity or non-profit of the winner’s choice. The award recipient will be announced in early fall.

Nominees must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Nominee must be 50 years or older.
  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must have been performed on a volunteer basis, without pay, and must reflect AARP’s vision and mission.
  • Couples or partners who perform service together are also eligible. However, teams are not eligible.
  • This is not a posthumous award.

Nominations can be submitted online at Please contact Ashley Aitken at or at 206-517-9364 for further information or for a hardcopy of the nomination form.   Applications will be accepted through Aug. 10.

The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding individuals who are making a powerful difference in their communities in ways that advance AARP’s mission, vision, and commitment to volunteer service and that inspire others to volunteer.

This is an annual awards program developed to honor individuals whose service is a unique and valuable contribution to society.  Last year, AARP recognized 51 outstanding individuals and couples from around the country.

“This award is a reminder that we can all work together for positive social change,” said Shadel. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”


John Braasch (left), an advocate for homeless military veterans on the Olympic Peninsula, receives his Andrus Award for Community Service from Doug Shale, the Washington state director for AARP.