Charlene McGarvey, vice president of the AARP Historic Chapter #1 in Youngtown, received the 2021 AARP/NRTA Community Service Award, signed by Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP chief executive officer. This honors an individual (or couple) from an AARP national chapter for outstanding service and the greatest contribution to the community and/or chapter during 2020.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and a state prohibition on in-person meetings, McGarvey was pivotal in finding alternative ways to ensure the chapter membership remained engaged in meaningful ways during this pandemic as well as being the chairperson of numerous community service projects.
“I would like to Thank Charlene for everything she does not only for our chapter members but for the senior population and the community at large,” said AARP Historic Chapter #1 President, Jay Lickus. “She is tireless in her support of our senior population and the communities of Youngtown and Sun City especially during these difficult times. Charlene truly does embody everything about the AARP motto: ‘To serve, not to be served.’”
In 2020, McGarvey was an early and exceptional leader in the transition of AARP Historic Chapter #1 from in-person to safe distance and digital programing. She not only remained an integral part of the monthly board Zoom meetings, but she suggested, modeled and led a series of mail communications to the membership via notecards, holiday cards and printed newsletters.
An employee of the Youngtown Community Fund, McGarvey spent her spare time conducting monthly wellness checks by reaching out to the chapter members one by one over the phone. She also helped lead the planning and execution of two community shred-a-thons with the Rotary Club of Surprise raising $2,000 for the chapter. She was responsible for the chapter initiative to donate $1,000 to the non-profit organization, Valley View Community Food Bank, to help them during the Christmas holiday season, and during the 2021 Easter season, she spearheaded a food raising campaign ($300 and 300 pounds) to benefit the West Valley Food Bank.
McGarvey was born in Delaware, Ohio, and moved to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where she met her husband Joe. They have five children (four boys and one girl). They left Ohio in 1979 and lived throughout the United States, in Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and back to Arizona.
“I think we may be gypsies at heart,” McGarvey stated.
She started a career in banking first as a part-time teller and retiring as a branch manager in 2010. In 2012, Charlene and Joe moved back to Arizona to be close to their two oldest sons their sole granddaughter. McGarvey started working at the Youngtown library in 2012 and retired from there in 2019. She then started working at the Youngtown Community Fund/Medical Lending Center, a non-profit lending free, durable medical equipment to those in need in the community. In her spare time, McGarvey enjoys baking, cooking and gardening. She and Joe have two rescue dogs.
AARP Historic Chapter #1 is the oldest existing AARP chapter in the nation. It was organized Sept. 23, 1960 in Youngtown and was incorporated Oct. 20, 1969. There are more than 75 active members. They are always seeking new, active members and volunteers. Members must be a current member of national AARP to join the local chapter. Dues are $10 per year. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the chapter met 5:30 p.m. the first Friday of every month in the Youngtown clubhouse and council chambers, 12030 Clubhouse Square. The in-person meetings are on hiatus and hope to return sometime in the fall.
Call 623-734-5438 or 623-363-4608.