WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT, November 9, 2022 – Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a nonprofit rehabilitation-focused healthcare system headquartered in Wallingford, is pleased to announce that Phillip King, a 94-year-old Cheshire resident and long-time Gaylord volunteer, was today recognized by the AARP of Connecticut with the 2022 Andrus Award for Community Service.
The Andrus Award is AARP’s most prestigious state award given annually to an outstanding volunteer who shares their experience, talent, and skills to enrich the lives of their community members. The award is named for AARP founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” continues to shape AARP’s work years after founding the Association to help older Americans age with dignity and purpose.
For nearly a dozen years, Phillip King has volunteered as a patient transport volunteer at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare. A source of boundless energy, King brings wheelchair-bound patients who are recovering from life-altering illnesses and injuries from their hospital rooms to their therapy sessions and appointments and back.
Three years ago, King – an accomplished artist - volunteered to direct Gaylord’s Creative Expressions adaptive art program and has since introduced many people with permanent disabilities to the therapeutic benefits of painting and drawing.
Last year, King logged nearly 600 volunteer hours, the most accrued among the hospital’s 50 volunteers.
“Phil is very aware that many Gaylord patients are struggling to cope with the emotional and physical uncertainties that come with a life-changing illness or injury,” said Sonja LaBarbera, President and CEO of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare.
“He makes it his personal goal to give each individual a moment of levity and encouragement to brighten their day. He has a special knack for making the patient he is transporting or teaching feel like the most important person at that moment.”
In addition to the Andrus recognition, AARP of Connecticut donates $3,000 to an eligible non-profit organization of the award winner’s choosing. King has selected Gaylord Specialty Healthcare as the recipient.
Nora Duncan, Director of AARP Connecticut, said, “Phil represents AARP’s value of empowerment. He looks at the abilities of the patients he volunteers for, not their disabilities. He strives to help them become independent and he does it all with enthusiasm and a smile. It’s an honor to present him with AARP Connecticut’s most prestigious award for community service.”
About Gaylord Specialty Healthcare:
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare is a rehabilitation-focused, nonprofit health system headquartered in Wallingford, Connecticut, that provides inpatient and outpatient care for people at every point in their journey from illness or injury to maximum recovery.
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare is anchored by Gaylord Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital, and includes Gaylord Outpatient Services and Gaylord Physical Therapy for patients who require diagnosis and treatment. Gaylord's Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation is a hub for accelerating world-class rehabilitative research, technology development and innovation to improve the quality of life and function of people around the world. Together, these entities deliver a complete continuum of rehabilitative care driven by clinical experience, innovation and human compassion.