Erwin M. Sekulow didn’t have any serious retirement plans until he received a letter from AARP calling for a Maryland spokesman for the national organization representing some 35 million members older than 50.
Now Mr. Sekulow, 76, puts in at least 25 hours a week in what he describes as a “full-time voluntary position” as president of the organization’s state office, which has 770,000 members.
“I’ve been a member for 25 years, and I saw this position as a way to get more involved in the community,” Mr. Sekulow says.
Mr. Sekulow directs the organization’s efforts to promote key issues to retirees and senior citizens throughout the state. They range from providing affordable long-term health care and cheaper prescription-drug programs to identifying predator mortgage providers and financial matters that affect seniors.
The part of the job Mr. Sekulow enjoys most is encouraging people to volunteer and promoting the organization’s community-service initiatives.
“Members play the role of advocates for AARP, and I want to make sure they speak up and talk when we present issues that will affect them,” Mr. Sekulow said during a break of a volunteer recruitment seminar for 20 AARP members in Baltimore last week.
The job is a natural progression after his service in the academic arena as a development director for Johns Hopkins University and its hospital.
“I’m very comfortable contacting our members and encouraging them to get out in the community because I spent most of my 30-year career with Johns Hopkins motivating entrepreneurs and others to support the institution,” Mr. Sekulow says.
Frank Bailey, director of the state office, said AARP was keen to capitalize on Mr. Sekulow’s lobbying and fund-raising abilities.
“Erwin has an excellent background to be an articulate spokesman in addition to having the energy and passion to move our strategic plan forward,” Mr. Bailey says.
He also will be a key player in helping the Maryland office elect a volunteering development director and community services director from hundreds of statewide applications, Mr. Bailey says.
Mr. Sekulow says his main challenge will be helping the office become more firmly established in Maryland. AARP started state offices last year as part of an internal restructuring.
“It’s a pretty ambitious and tiring undertaking, but it gets me energized each day to get out in the community and help better inform our members in the state.”
Mr. Sekulow lives in Baltimore with his wife, Marianne.