Ethridge Woman Earns AARP Tennessee’s Highest Volunteer Award for Work with Needy
People Helping People Together Earns $2,500 on Behalf of Jan Kirk Wright
Jan Kirk Wright, who founded an organization that has helped hundreds of needy and elderly Maury County residents, will receive AARP Tennessee’s highest volunteer award.
Her charity, People Helping People Together, is a big winner too. AARP Tennessee will present People Helping People Together with a check for $2,500 on behalf of Wright, whose dream is to “transform entire neighborhoods by renovating one house at a time.”
Wright was among more than 30 people from across the state nominated for the AARP Tennessee Andrus Award for Community Service. Eight people submitted nominations for Wright, including state Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, who said the charity’s work “has improved quality of life and has given people hope.”
Wright helped found the organization in 2009 after seeing that the Eastside community of Columbia suffered from what she calls “Broken Window Syndrome,” with vacant homes, trash and a high crime rate. She began reaching out to area churches, businesses, government agencies and civic groups to help install heating systems, fix doors and windows, and otherwise repair and renovate homes. One 73-year-old blind man had 10 buckets of water in his attic when People Helping People Together came to replace his roof, she said.
In 2010, more than 800 volunteers came together on “People Helping People Day” – fixing up the exterior of 82 homes throughout Columbia.
“We are not only repairing houses but changing lives. We are giving people hope,” Wright said. “When we help someone, they in turn are doing what they can to help others, such as doing laundry for their elderly neighbors. It is totally amazing.”
The award – and an oversized check for $2,500– will be formally presented on Oct. 2.
Wright isn’t the only winner. AARP Tennessee also would like to congratulate Andrus Award runner up Don Peterson of Nashville, who will receive $1,500 on behalf of Fifty Forward, and former state Rep. and pediatrician Dr. Gene Caldwell of Oak Ridge, whose $1,000 prize will go to Emory Valley Center.
“When you see the work that these Tennesseans are doing, you will understand how our state continues to live up to its nickname as ‘The Volunteer State,’” said Margot Seay, who served six years as AARP Tennessee’s State President and is now the national volunteer director. “We are thrilled to honor them and to contribute in a small way toward the amazing work they are doing to improve their communities and our state.”
To learn more about AARP Tennessee and how you can make a difference in your community, visit our web page at www.aarp.org/tn, our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aarptennessee or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aarptn.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
(Contact: Karin Miller, Communications Director, AARP Tennessee, 615-726-5104, 615-512-7728, email@example.com)