• 20220406-182155-CEN20030320My20Name20Is

Start in the west

I’m 71 and have lived what is now Centennial for 43 years. 

I’m originally from Anaheim, California. During a summer break in college, a friend and I took a road trip around many of the western United States. One of the states was Colorado. I decided this was where I wanted to live and work once I graduated. I found a company that was willing to move me out here and lived here since. 

My career was in the high-tech industry, specifically computers both in field service and sales. 

Advocating for older adults

I started out seeing a need to change health care policy for consumers — not only older adults but for generations after me.

I joined an AARP chapter back in 2008. During the first meeting, a member reported on the legislative advocacy. Right after the meeting, I asked him how I could get involved with the advocacy group. 

Once I saw AARP worked many other areas of policy, I got involved in some of those like utilities, such as gas, electric, telecommunications; financial security like “work and save”; long-term care; voting rights; and predatory lending. 

Capitol presence

Here in Colorado, I work mainly with our legislative advocacy group. During Colorado’s legislative session (the roughly four-month period when state lawmakers pass bills), we work on legislative bills affecting older adults.

I also give written and oral testimony to the state legislature. I enjoy this part of my volunteerism. The hard part is trying to keep oral testimony at two to three minutes. 

Wide influence

I am a member of the South Suburban (Centennial) AARP Chapter. Most of its members live here in Centennial. 

Currently, I also volunteer as the West Region Volunteer Director. I work with volunteers in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming as well as nationally with volunteers and staff in both the AARP national office and other regions.

The thing that stands out the most are the great group of people I have worked with over the years. They really want to make a difference in not only their communities but for everyone. I am very honored to be a part of that. 

Show on the road

I have also traveled around Colorado to answer questions about Medicare as part of the AARP Speaker’s Bureau. I not only talked about Medicare but other subjects like the Affordable Care Act, AARP 101 … and our legislative advocacy in the state. One of the most common questions is, “Tell me about AARP’s insurance programs.” My answer is: AARP is not an insurance company. We are affiliated with certain companies on behalf of our members. 

Read up on Medicare

If people have questions about Medicare, the first place I direct them to is Medicare.org and AARP.org. Another is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at Shiphelp.org. These are all good sources to find out about Medicare.

I will add, for those who are not eligible for Medicare but are about to be, to do their research before choosing a plan and company. Many people spend more time on planning their vacations than they do on choosing Medicare insurance.

If you’re interested in volunteering

You should contact your local AARP state office. Another great source not only for volunteering with AARP but other groups is AARP’s CreateTheGood website

You might not know

From 2011 to 2021, I served on the City of Centennial Senior Commission (which advises the Centennial City Council on matters affecting seniors).

As a kid, I would sneak into Disneyland. 

If you think we should interview someone for My Name Is …, or if you would like to be interviewed for the segment, contact Ellis Arnold at earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com or 303-566-4109.