(L–R) AARP Hawai‘i State President Gary Simon,Hui ‘O Hau‘ula President Dotty Kelly-Paddock and AARP Hawai‘i State Director Keali‘i Lopez. PC: Paul Nakatani/AARP Hawai`i

(L–R) AARP Hawai‘i State President Gary Simon, Hui ‘O Hau‘ula President Dotty Kelly-Paddock and AARP Hawai‘i State Director Keali‘i Lopez. PC: Paul Nakatani/AARP Hawai`i

AARP Founder Ethel Percy Andrus lived her life to serve others. In her work life, she served students and her community as a principal at Lincoln High School in California. She retired to take care of her mother and after her mother recovered, Ethel founded the National Retired Teachers Association at age 63 to advocate for the welfare of retired teachers. Her service soon evolved into advocating for all older Americans by starting AARP, the nonprofit organization for people 50 and older. “It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live,” said Ethel.

In the spirit of Ethel, AARP state offices recognize outstanding older volunteers across the country each year with its most prestigious state honor — the Andrus Award for Community Service.

The Hawai‘i recipient is Dotty Kelly-Paddock, the volunteer executive director of Hui ‘O Hau‘ula and the president of Hau‘ula Community Association. Dotty began  volunteering at age 62 and that desire to serve her community also led to her election to the Ko‘olauloa Neighborhood Board.

Instead of letting the vacant Hau‘ula Satellite City Hall building remain empty, Dotty petitioned the city to reopen it and created the Hui O Hau‘ula 501c3 nonprofit to run it. It’s now the Hau‘ula Community Center that serves residents of Ko‘olauloa District with classes for seniors and food distribution programs for the needy. The center also serves as a partnership hub for over 20 additional nonprofit programs that serve the Ko‘olauloa District community.

When she learned there was no plan for Hau‘ula to survive a tsunami or major storm, Dotty organized her neighbors to create a plan to make Hau‘ula disaster resilient. She is leading the effort to find funding to build a shelter — a resilience hub on high ground in the back of the valley. It will be the only disaster shelter for 25 miles around the Windward North Shore — a crucial need since it is likely that Kamehameha Highway may be rendered impassable.

“People who have a lifetime of experience should say what they know,” Dotty said. “Age is helpful. People will listen to a person who has a lot of experience because they know what they’re talking about.”

Her work continues to reflect AARP’s vision and mission, and inspire other volunteers.

AARP HAWAI‘I (Nonprofit)
1001 Bishop St., Ste. 625, Honolulu, HI 96813
808-545-6000 | hiaarp@aarp.org | aarp.org/hi