Laramie’s Bernadette “Bernie” Horst will be named the AARP Wyoming 2022 AARP Andrus Award Winner, honoring the state’s top volunteer over the age of 50 during a banquet in Casper on Friday, Oct. 14, according to a release from AARP.

Horst was one of three finalists for the Andrus Award in Wyoming. Last week, AARP Wyoming placed videos of Horst and fellow nominees, Ed Strader of Cheyenne, and Sheridan’s Wayne Schatz and asked its social media fans to vote for a winner by liking, commenting, or sharing those videos. Horst garnered over 100 more votes than the second-place vote-getter en route to the win. 

The annual Andrus Award for Community Service is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award. It recognizes individuals who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP’s purpose, vision, and commitment to volunteer service, and that inspire others to volunteer. Only one Wyoming volunteer (or couple performing service together) can receive the Award.

The Winner

Bernadette. “Bernie” Horst is a familiar face around Albany County, volunteering at the Eppson Center for Seniors, The Albany County Library, The Wyoming Women’s Club; the Laramie Plains Museum, and Wyoming Women’s History Museum.

Horst is perhaps best known for her work at the Eppson Center, where she has served on the board of directors for six years. Since leaving the board, Horst remains active at the Eppson Center where she volunteers to update the grounds of the center by doing landscaping tasks such as mowing grass, trimming bushes, and watering flowers that rotate by the season. Each month, Horst decorates the centers of tables in the Eppson Center Dining Room with novelties according to a monthly theme. For ten years, Horst has been a member of the Home Delivered Meals, a program of the Eppson Center. In the HDM program, volunteers deliver warm meals to those who are homebound or not able to cook for themselves.  

The University of Wyoming’s St. Paul Newman’s Center benefits from Horst’s efforts as she bakes snacks for students as they study for finals, contributes desserts for some Sunday night dinners St. Newman’s hosts for students, and as a member of the Martha and Mary women's group and their events.

As a member of the Laramie Women’s Club, she volunteers for the LWC activities that fundraise to earn money for nonprofits in the city of Laramie. In her PEO Chapter, Horst is part of a committee that writes applications for students who are in need of financial support to continue their education.

That isn’t the end of Horst’s work in the community. She also volunteers at the Albany County Library by being a member of the Friends of the Library. She organizes donated used books and periodicals for sale to library patrons in a section of the library called the Book Nook. Money earned from the sale of donated books goes directly to the library for needed supplies. If needed Horst helps with the distribution of used books to a free clinic and Albany County public health office.

Once a week, Horst is a docent at the Wyoming Women’s History House offering presentations on when and how women in Wyoming gained the right to vote. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Laramie Plains Museum which oversees the management of the Ivinson Home and its various departments and employees.

Nominees for the 2022 Andrus Award

Sheridan’s Wayne Schatz is no stranger to volunteering for AARP, or various other groups in Sheridan County. The long-time Sheridan-area educator spent six years on the AARP Wyoming Executive Council and is a key member of the Sheridan Community Action Team. He was nominated for the Andrus Award by Stella Montano, one of the leaders of the Sheridan Community Action Team.

According to Montano, Schatz has coordinated numerous AARP activities in the last few years, including the group’s Movies for Grown-ups series, which seeks to root out social isolation; the Souper Bowl food drive in Sheridan County; and local Shred Fests, which are designed to fight fraud by shredding old paper that may contain personal information. Schatz also supported the Sheridan Veterans Golf Tournament; the group’s Third Thursday events; the Annual Christmas Stroll in Sheridan, an Emergency Preparedness Workshop, and much more.

When not volunteering through AARP, Schatz gives his time as a Board Member of the Sheridan County School District 2, where he has served for the last 10 years. A former educator in the school district, Schatz has served as Executive Director of the Wyoming Retired Educators Association and has had some role in the group for the last 35 years. Wayne has acted as a Boy Scoutmaster and leader for 20 years, a commissioner in the Greater Wyoming Council of Boy Scouts, and a Northeast Wyoming Youth Church leader. Schatz also visits residents at the Sheridan County Hospice. Finally, Schatz volunteers in a number of capacities at the Wyo Theater.

Ed Strader of Cheyenne has spent up to four mornings a week picking up donated bread and delivering it to local homeless shelters and food pantries in town, for the last nine years. Each morning, Stader drives to a bread warehouse on the City’s east side where he picks up the bread that drivers for the local distributor bring back.

From there, Strader loads his truck with 20 to 30 cases of bread (up to 350 loaves a day) and starts a route that includes Meals on Wheels, St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, COMEA House homeless shelter, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Salvation Army and other agencies that serve those in need. The bread is then distributed at no cost to the public. Strader has been doing this for the last nine years and delivers the bread at his own expense. 

Stader, who was nominated by Don Morris of Cheyenne, is also an active member of AARP Wyoming’s Cheyenne Community Group, which meets monthly to listen to presentations on community events and organizations, as well as sponsor events. Strader has been a long-time volunteer with that group as well. 

About the Andrus Award

AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” has shaped our community service efforts at the national, state, and local levels. Each year, AARP honors the legacy of Dr. Andrus with the AARP Wyoming Andrus Award for Community Service

Eligibility Guidelines

Nominees for the Award must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Nominees must be 50 years or older.
  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must have been performed on a volunteer basis, without pay.
  • Volunteers receiving small stipends to cover costs associated with the volunteer activity are eligible.
  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must reflect AARP’s vision and purpose.
  • The achievements, accomplishments or service on which the nomination is based must be replicable and provide inspiration for others to serve.
  • Partisan political achievements, accomplishments or service may not be considered.
  • Couples or partners who perform service together are eligible; however, teams are not eligible.
  • The recipient must live in Wyoming.
  • Previous Andrus Award recipients are not eligible.
  • Volunteers serving on the Andrus Award selection committee are not eligible.
  • AARP staff members are not eligible.
  • This is not a posthumous award.

Recipient Selection Process

AARP Wyoming convenes a Selection Committee to ensure diverse perspectives and to review all nominations. For the last three years, AARP Wyoming has named two or three finalists for the state award, then asked the public to vote for their favorite finalist by “liking,” and “sharing,” a video of each is posted on AARP Wyoming’s Facebook page. The inclusion of community-level AARP volunteers as well as community organizations is encouraged. While the AARP National Office provides guidance for the Andrus Award for Community Service, the selection of the recipient is at the sole discretion of AARP Wyoming.

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