AARP recognizes volunteers

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

Wendy Walker/staff writer/

FRANKLIN—Seventy-six Franklin Area AARP members and guests gathered at Paul D. Camp Community College’s Regional Workforce Development Center for a special recognition luncheon for volunteers.

The event, led by local chapter President John Vargo, helped honor more than 40 of the members. AARP State President Dr. Warren A. Stewart was the keynote speaker.

He said that the mission of the AARP is to enhance the quality of life for all people as they age.

“We believe that people should have increased health care and long-term financial security,” he said. “It is part of our mission.”

Stewart also said that the AARP believes social security must be strengthened without burdening future generations.

He also recognized Vargo and the local chapter for gathering so many signatures in support of a platform, “Divided We Fail,” that pledges to vote for candidates who will help ensure that people will have long-term financial security and affordable quality health care.

Statewide, he noted that 13,000 people “added their voice” the first year and of those, 1,700 were collected by the Franklin Area chapter. In addition, 1,400 of the chapter’s pledges were collected by Vargo.

Other guest speakers during the event were Franklin City Mayor Jim Councill and City Manager Bucky Taylor. Assistant Southampton County Administrator Jay Randolph also attended, as well as Brian Jacks of the state AARP.

Volunteers who were recognized were: Marie Beale, Eunice Blythe, Lewis Bryant, Louise H. Bryant, Louise R. Bryant, Midge Burgess, Betty Butler, Charles Crowder, Lucy Ann Crowder, Lizzie K. Darden, Pearl Darden,

Leroy Frazier, Mary Futrell, Virginia Haley, William Harris, Robert Heeren, Carolyn and Ed Hudson, Marjorie Johnson, Shep Johnson, Viola Johnson, Chris and Sam Moon, Helen Nixon, Allene Parker, Betty Reeder, Alice Ricks, Shirley Schultz, Grant and Mary Ellen Simms, Shirley Smith, Ophelia Taylor, Gracie and John Vargo, Gertrude Watson, Wayne C. White, Bernice Williams, Dorothy Wilson, Woodrow Wilson and Jean Worrell.

Worrell, who founded the local chapter, was given a special plaque for all of her volunteerism in the community including her work at the YMCA, where she teaches the Twinges ‘N Hinges class, that focuses on low-impact exercise in the pool. She received the YMCA’s Bob Martens Volunteer of the Year award. Worrell is active in Courtland Baptist Church, and in the past, participated regularly in the Senior Olympics, bringing home many medals.

The AARP supports other non-profit organizations and community projects, such as the Genieve Shelter, the Boy Scouts, Operation Smile, the local Lions clubs and nursing homes.