AARP Nebraska is looking for nominations for the 2024 Andrus Award for Community Service.

The award honors an individual or couple over age 50 whose volunteer service enhances their community.

Nominations are due by July 15 and the winner will be announced in early fall.

The award is named after AARP’s founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, who called volunteers “America in action.” In addition to the recognition, the winner’s chosen nonprofit will receive $2,500.

AARP Nebraska Volunteer State President Suzan DeCamp was herself an Andrus Award winner in 2019. She said she encourages people throughout the state to nominate someone who embodies the volunteer spirit.

“Most of us that do volunteer work truly want to give back to our communities and make a positive difference in the lives of others,” said DeCamp. “If you know of someone who’s deserving of this award, it would make them feel great, I think, to be honored in this way.”

DeCamp explained that the winner has a say in what sort of recognition event they’d like, which a representative from the nonprofit receiving the money usually attends. Neither the nominee nor the person making the nomination has to be an AARP member.

DeCamp said receiving the Andrus award was both an honor and “a little humbling.” She said one of the best parts of winning was giving the award money to the nonprofit Christian Outreach Program – Elkhorn, or COPE.

“It’s made a huge impact in the Elkhorn and Omaha area,” said DeCamp, “getting people housing and feeding them, and getting them clothing. They have a food pantry, and I think they used some of that for the food pantry. So, it definitely helped other people in need.”

Last year’s winner, Jerry Marlatt of Kearney, chose Kearney’s Habitat for Humanity to receive his Andrus Award money. DeCamp said Marlatt has volunteered with the organization for over 30 years.

“They have built, I think it was like, 90 homes since he started volunteering, and he has supervised every one of those homes and physically worked on them,” said DeCamp. “So, it’s those types of volunteers – they’re not doing it for any type of recognition, they just want to help people.”

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