Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes

Bjorklund wins volunteer honor


September 27, 2018

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

Bjorklund was 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.

Bjorklund was surprised to hear she had won the award, but when she got the official word she cried tears of joy and expressed her appreciation to Lily Hayes for nominating her and the community for their support. Though unfamiliar with Facebook, as she doesn’t use the service, she was amazed with the 726 votes she received and enjoyed the comments people left as well.

“This really is a very nice honor,” she said.

Tom Lacock, the associate state director for state advocacy and communication, noted he visited with people from the community and the more he heard and read about Bjorklund the more amazed he was with what she does for the community.

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.

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.

“We had a strong list of nominees from across Wyoming,” AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway said.

“Kay, Jody, and Judy really embody the spirit of volunteerism in a way that is inspiring and productive.”


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