A microphone with a dying battery didn’t stop Guy Windholz from making sure the crowd at the Rose Garden Banquet Hall knew who should get credit for their contributions.
As a staff member raced to retrieve a new battery, Windholz stepped away from the podium and walked among the tables at the luncheon.
“In the meantime, I don’t need a battery,” Windholz said, raising his voice to continue his speech that often had the audience laughing.
Windholz was being honored as the recipient of the 2019 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service.
The award is named for the founder of AARP, Ethel Percy Andrus, and is the organization’s most prestigious state volunteer award for community service.
“The Andrus Awards are presented annually to AARP volunteers in every state who have served in an outstanding fashion, made a powerful difference in their community, and have a lifetime of experience and leadership to serve others,” Sarah Jennings, AARP Central Region vice president, said at the banquet. “Like Dr. Andrus, our recipients must think big, dream big and their efforts must have a positive impact on many lives."
Windholz is a member of the Hays Senior Center Board, chairman of the Ellis County Courthouse Preservation Committee, and is a volunteer board member, curator and treasurer of the Ellis Bukovina German Historical Organization. He volunteers with the Ellis Tourism Committee and is the Ellis Senior Center’s representative to the Strategic Plan for Ellis County sponsored by the Heartland Foundation. He was an Ellis County commissioner from 1989 to 1996, and received the All American Citizen Award at the 2016 Wild West Festival.
But his speech was about naming others who have been part of his work in the county and with the Hays AARP chapter, including Alberta Klaus, who first introduced him to the group by asking him to speak about the courthouse preservation and then asked him to join the group.
“Sure, I joined, but first paused and thought about what Groucho Marx once said on his TV show ‘You Bet Your Life.’ He quipped, ‘Why would I want to join a club or organization that would have me as a member?' ” Windholz said.
He then proceeded to thank others, including the 60 or so chickens who “unwittingly gave their lives” for the meal, then pointed to his wife, Kathy.
“I think she’s deserving of canonization as a saint for putting up with me for 46 years,” he said with a laugh. “She agrees with me. We finally agreed on something!”
He also acknowledged his children, grandchildren and brothers, as well as the board of the local AARP chapter and other volunteers with the group.
Making sure seniors and their needs are not forgotten is what drives Windholz, he said after the banquet.
“It’s so important that our seniors are not left behind,” he said.