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Medford nurse awarded AARP's 'highest honor for public service'

Geneva Craig, RN, Ph.D. will receive the Andrus Award at a summit in Medford this weekend.

Posted: Nov 15, 2019 10:29 AM
Updated: Nov 15, 2019 10:35 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — A Medford nurse will be recognized for her volunteerism and public service with the AARP's highest honor, the organization said in a statement released Friday. Geneva Craig, RN, Ph.D. is set to receive the Andrus Award at a summit this weekend.

“She takes the initiative to do what needs to be done in any circumstance, whether leading a meeting or organizing an event. She inspires other volunteers and supports them in becoming leaders," said Elaine Friesen-Strang, AARP Oregon Volunteer State President. "We continue to be impressed by her optimistic spirit and determination to make a positive difference in her community.”

The AARP said that Craig joined the march with Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama as civil rights activists tried to cross the Edmond Pettus Bridge — an event now immortalized as "Bloody Sunday."

Craig says she credits Dr. King with saving her life by helping to channel the youthful anger and frustrations that she and many others felt as they tried to claim their rights.

"Dr. King gave the rebellious youth focus, meaning and purpose. She learned how to set goals and find her north star," the AARP said.

Craig went on to become a registered nurse before earning her Ph.D., no easy task for a young woman from Selma. She continued to work toward making the world a better place through her profession, her mentorship of young people, and her volunteerism between Alabama, Alaska, and Oregon.

"What is unusual about Dr. Craig is that she is at once a highly educated professional and at the same time, an approachable person who cares deeply about all people," said Arlene Krasner of Medford, who nominated Dr. Craig. "She does whatever is necessary to help out from cleaning up after an event to making a speech or serving a master of ceremonies.”

Craig will receive this year's Andrus Award at the Vital Aging Summit, this Saturday at the Smullen Center in Medford. She was chosen by a committee of AARP Oregon staff and volunteers from a field of 19 nominations.

“Dr. Craig embodies the spirit of our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto was to serve not to be served” said AARP Oregon State Director Ruby Haughton-Pitts. “Volunteers are the glue that make our communities great places to live, work and play and we are honored that Dr. Craig has chosen AARP Oregon for these many years as her volunteer home.”

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