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AARP honors 20 years of serving area

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By Alex Wimsatt

 MOUNT WASHINGTON - For two decades the Mount Washington chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons has existed to improve quality of life for those 50 and older, but the organization’s commitment to service has gone far beyond its members. 

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Folks from all walks of life have been affected by this organization over the years, and its long list of community service has included everything from keeping addictive prescription drugs off the streets and preventing identity theft to purchasing Christmas presents for children and veterans. 

In recognition of the chapter’s rich history of service, local and state officials recently gathered with AARP members at the Ralph Lutes Senior Center for a special luncheon in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Mount Washington AARP Chapter 4613. 

President Bill Harned, who joined the chapter in 1999, said that since its inception the organization has steadily grown and expanded its role in the community. 

“It just seems to have kept growing and growing and growing,” Harned said. “The chapter is a big piece of the community service puzzle.” 

Harned said not only has the chapter’s membership increased over the years, but its scope of service has grown exponentially. 

Over the past year, members have logged over 6,000 hours of community service in the Mount Washington area, providing child care and tutoring, assisting the homebound, visiting those in assisted living facilities and supporting church service programs.

Much of AARP’s mission is to foster awareness of the issues facing seniors, however, the Mount Washington chapter works to keep all ages informed on a wide range of topics important to families throughout the community. 

Last year the chapter hosted a free communitywide e-cycling and identity theft prevention event in which folks were invited to safely dispose of unwanted electronics and papers containing personal information. 

The chapter has sponsored safe driving classes aimed at helping participants sharpen their driving skills and has frequently collected for and donated to Boy Scout food drives, Mount Washington Community Ministries, Shepherds Shelter and the Angel Tree Christmas program.

Members have also made sizable monetary donations to local low-income families, veterans and seniors. 

With all the chapter’s initiatives, Harned said there remained great needs throughout Mount Washington and he hopes that AARP Chapter 4613 will continue its unwavering spirit of service in its next 20 years and beyond. 

“This is an exciting time for our chapter,” Harned said. 

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over. The organization seeks to lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service.

AARP also provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for members.

Mount Washington AARP Chapter 4613 hosts a pot luck luncheon and meeting the first Thursday of every month. Anyone interested in joining should contact Harned at (502) 955-7197.