Heckman wins AARP honor

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Janice Stover presents Pat Heckman with the AARP 2007 Andrus Award

Pat Heckman has been awarded the AARP 2007 Andrus Award for Outstanding Community Service for Idaho.

The award was presented during the noon meal at the Mountain Home Senior Center, where Heckman volunteers her services, particularly during tax time each year.

The AARP Andrus Award for Community Service is an annual awards program developed to honor individuals whose service is a unique and valuable contribution to society. The award was named after AARP's founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.

AARP recognizes 53 outstanding individuals from around the country. The AARP Andrus Award for Community Service recognizes members and volunteers who, through volunteer service, are significantly enhancing the lives of individuals 50 and over.

"The award acts as a symbol to members and the public that we can all work together for positive social change," an AARP spokesperson said. "AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteering and the important contributions AARP volunteers make to their communities, neighbors and the programs they serve."

Heckman is the site coordinator for the AARP Tax-Aide site in Mountain Home. She has increased community outreach for the free-to-consumers tax filing program by assisting over 500 individuals in the community and has the fourth highest record in the state for filing tax returns electronically.

In addition, Heckman assists seniors and low-income individuals in financial planning, public assistance and other supportive programs. Heckman helps seniors learn about new funding opportunities and was instrumental in finding funding for a new van for the Mountain Home Senior Center.

Heckman helps seniors adapt to technology by teaching computer skills. Heckman also volunteers for the Masonic Organization by raising funds for diabetic research and promoting public awareness for diabetes.

In attendance for the presentation, were Mayor Joe B. McNeal and Mayor-Elect Tom Rist. Representing the AARP was State President Janice Stover, Peggy Munson and Cathy McDougall, Associate State Director.

McNeal issued a proclamation declaring Dec. 7, Pat Heckman Day in the city of Mountain Home and a key to the city,

"As mayor, you rarely get a chance to recognize individuals on their hard work for this community, today I am honored to read this proclamation for Pat," said McNeal.

Munson, who will soon be the new President for the AARP following the retirement of Stover at the end of the year, commended Heckman on her accomplishments and awarded Heckman with a copy of former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation Speaks." Brokaw is a former recipient of the Andrus Award.

Ruthada Powell, President of the Senior Center gave a heartfelt speech for Heckman,

"She is not only a very special friend, but she is more like a daughter to me. I am so honored to be nominate Pat for this award because she is so deserving of this honor," said Powell.

Stover presented Heckman with the award, and issued a $300 donation from the AARP in honor of Pat to the Senior Center. Powell addressed the viewing audience that the Mountain Home Basque Association also donated $500 to the Senior Center.

The guests commented following the presentation,

"These are small tokens I presented her, but what Pat gives to the community is so much more," said McNeal.

"This is my first time at this event, but Pat is more than deserving of this honor. We all should be proud to have people like Pam in our community," said Rist.

"The event went well, the crowd was good and I think Pat felt truly honored," said Stover.

Powell commented on how pleased she was for the event and how worthy Heckman was for the award,

"The event went very well, I'm sorry that some of the guests were unable to attend. Overall I'm very proud of Pat, the fact that she deserved this award, and that I've been to able to work with Pat for all these years."

Heckman was very pleased following her award presentation,

"I feel honored to win this award, I didn't expect it, but I do appreciate it. I just feel so privileged to accept this award, even though there were so many deserving individuals."

In September, the AARP will commemorating it's 50th anniversary in Washington D.C.

" Heckman is a perfect example of Dr. Ethel Percy Andru's vision, "To Serve, Not Be Served," an AARP spokesperson said.

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