Thermopolis’ Kay Bjorklund wins Wyoming’s Andrus Award

AARP Wyoming announced Tuesday that Thermopolis resident Kay Bjorklund has been named the Andrus Award winner for the State of Wyoming.

The award, named after AARP founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, recognizes individuals who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP’s mission, vision, and commitment to volunteer service. Only one volunteer per state (or couple performing service together) can receive the award each year. The award winner is required to be at least 50 years old, and the achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must reflect AARP’s vision and mission.

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At 94 years old, Bjorklund remains a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, as well as a Program Director for the Kiwanis Club, a driver for Meals on Wheels, a volunteer at the Pioneer Home in Thermopolis, a church volunteer, as well as the highest selling fundraiser for her PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) chapter, and a volunteer in the gift shop of the hospital in Thermopolis.

Bjorklund will be honored with the Andrus Award at AARP Wyoming’s Volunteer Recognition Banquet in Casper on November 8.

Bjorklund is one of three finalists for the award, along with Jody Lowe of Laramie, and Judy Weickum of Cheyenne. In all, nine Wyomingites were nominated for the award with the finalists being announced in September through a series of videos on Facebook documenting the work of the finalists. Viewers of the videos were asked to vote on the winner by sharing and liking the videos.  In one week, Bjorklund’s video achieved 1,500 views, 446 likes, and 280 shares.

“We had a strong list of nominees from across Wyoming, “says AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “Kay, Jody, and Judy really embody the spirit of volunteerism in a way that is inspiring and productive.”

Last year’s Andrus Award winner was won by Clayton and Gloria Jensen who are coaches at the Casper Boxing Club in Casper. The Casper Boxing Club seeks to use the mind and body as a catalyst to bring about change, creating an environment to reach youth who others may have written off as unreachable. The Jensen’s efforts include work with the Police Athletic Club, as well as Rock Steady Boxing, a program in which Parkinson’s Patients go through boxing training, which has been shown to slow, or arrest the advancement of the disease. To check out a video of last year’s Andrus Award winners, click here.

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.

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