Washington, D.C. – For Dick Chevrefils, spending an hour discussing Social Security and Medicare in a room in the United States Capitol filled with Senators and Aging advocates wasn’t just part of his job – it was personal. “My father passed away when I was 9 years old and my mother then became a single parent,” said Chevrefils, State President of AARP New Hampshire. “Before my father died we lived on an income of two parents working in the mills of New Hampshire. When he died the difference in our lives was Social Security in the form of survivor benefits.”
Accepting the volunteer position as AARP New Hampshire State President shows how devoted Chevrefils is to advancing the lives of others through his work in the community. In addition to his position at AARP, he serves in the New Hampshire State Government as the Director of the State Unit on Aging, and donates his time and talent to multiple organizations such as the United Way, Salvation Army, YMCA, and the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. His passion stems from a core belief that age is “a gift and the people of age are a tremendous resource to our nation.”
As a guest of U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), he joined nearly twenty other advocates and Senate Democrats this week for a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee (DSOC) meeting. “The meeting was a powerful demonstration of commitment to the needs of the elderly across this nation,” commented Chevrefils. “I was honored to be invited by Senator Shaheen – it provided me an opportunity to experience democracy in action. The process of the DSOC is what democracy is all about; it is elected officials working with citizens to help understand the issues facing people and taking action to address those issues.”
“We need to protect and strengthen vital programs like Social Security and Medicare so Granite Staters who have worked hard throughout their lives can have the retirement security they have earned,” Senator Shaheen said. Shaheen added, “New Hampshire has a growing senior population that’s aging faster than any other New England state, and AARP New Hampshire has been a tremendous advocate for them. I plan to continue supporting their efforts on behalf of our seniors.”
During the wide ranging discussion, one of the key issues the group discussed was improving their efforts to share information with their constituents. “AARP reaches out through a variety of efforts including community meetings, citizen listening sessions, “You’ve Earned a Say”, educational programs, telephone town halls, social media, press releases and a variety of other initiatives that inform the 50+ population, their families and all generations,” said Chevrefils.
After its conclusion, Chevrefils described the meeting as “energizing” and “hopeful”, and will be taking the lessons learned back to the Granite State. “It was a powerful session that I know I can share with our members, and help energize our efforts on behalf of the 50+ community,” said Chevrefils. “For many people Social Security, Medicare and an array of supportive services make the difference and provide a fair chance.”