Carol and Bob MacDougall, of Augusta, have been named the recipients of the 2017 Andrus Award, named in honor of AARP’s founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, according to a news release from AARP Maine.

The Andrus Award celebrates and honors individuals who make a difference in the lives of others, and it is the most prestigious and visible award AARP can present.

The MacDougalls’ extraordinary public service actively embodies Andrus’ motto “To serve, not to be served.” As soon as they retired and moved to Augusta in 2012, the MacDougalls began volunteering. They participated in Meals on Wheels at the Cohen Center in Hallowell and joined AARP Maine’s team of volunteers in 2014. It was at this time that they heard about AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities, an initiative to spark local change to build communities where people of all ages can thrive.

“The age-friendly concept is much more than about older adults and aging in place,” said Bob MacDougall, according to the release. “Our work in this area engages the whole community including our leaders, our young people and our older neighbors all working together to make Augusta a better place for all.”

The MacDougalls embraced the age-friendly model’s eight different “domains of livability” which are aspects of community life essential for the health and well-being of older residents. The domains of livability include such considerations as transportation, affordable housing, and support and health services, among others.

In an unprecedented effort to raise awareness about the need for Augusta’s assessment of the domains of livability, the MacDougalls worked with other age-friendly advocates to craft eight newspaper articles, each one focused on a particular domain. All eight articles were published as a series in the Kennebec Journal in 2017 and resulted in television and radio interviews, along with requests for collaboration from additional community partners including Augusta Mayor David Rollins, according to the release.

Bob MacDougall has been a guest speaker for many organizations and community groups in greater Augusta, including senior housing sites, MaineGeneral Medical Center and the Kiwanis Club. Their recent work to expand the delivery of buckets of salted sand to local residents age 60 and older as a partnership of the Augusta Age-Friendly Committee and the city’s Bureau of Parks, Cemeteries and Trees was front page news in October. The MacDougalls recently were recognized with the Spirit of America award by Kennebec County for their work with Age-Friendly in Augusta at the old county courthouse. The Augusta Age-Friendly Committee recently was honored with Spectrum Generation’s Distinguished Community Champion Award which is awarded to a group advancing significant advocacy-related initiatives on behalf of older or disabled residents.

“One thing we are really proud of is the bench program,” said Carol MacDougall, according to the release. “We approached grocery store chains in our area that did not have bench seating inside and outside for seniors to use while waiting for a ride. Both Hannaford and Shaw’s put out new bench seating and we highlighted them on our social media pages. We also approached the city of Augusta to put bench seating along the routes that seniors walk to get to their shopping and the city is doing just that. It is exciting to see how small things like this can make us a more livable city and enhance aging in our community.”

To learn more about the Augusta Age-Friendly Committee, visit them on Facebook or download the Augusta Age-Friendly Guide, the first ever age-friendly community-specific guide of its kind in the United States.

The MacDougalls have been married for more than 38 years. Carol MacDougall has retired from a 30-year nursing career and Bob MacDougall worked in logistics and transportation services for more than 40 years. They have one daughter, Linsey. Besides working tirelessly to advance age-friendly initiatives in Augusta, the MacDougalls enjoy camping and gardening, and Carol MacDougall is also an award-winning quilter.

AARP Maine recently celebrated Bob and Carol in grand style in Hallowell at Maple Hill Farm during an annual volunteer recognition celebration.

Rich Livingston, current AARP Maine Volunteer State President, said, “The AARP Maine Andrus Award acts as a symbol to our members and to the public that we can all work together for positive social change. We are deeply proud to be presenting this year’s award to Bob and Carol MacDougall, whose record of achievement, service and commitment provides a shining example of Maine citizens making a significant difference in the lives of others,” according to the release.

AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions AARP volunteers make to its communities, neighbors and the programs they serve. It welcomes new volunteers to serve in a variety of roles with AARP Maine. For more information, visit www.aarp.org/me or call 866-554-5380.

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