Greg Glischinski is the recipient of the AARP Colorado Andrus Award for Community Service. He is shown here in Denver on Oct. 1, 2021. 

When AARP Colorado wants to get a point across, they go to their point person at the state Capitol, Greg Glischinski.

The Colorado chapter of the national organization that serves and advocates for Americans 50 or older relies on the Centennial volunteer for a raft of other duties, too. He always answers the call, and that's the reason he won the chapter's top award this year.

Glischinski has been an AARP volunteer advocate for more than 13 years, providing written and oral testimony to the General Assembly and tracking bills that affect older Coloradans through the legislative process.

This past session he spoke up on utilities, broadband internet, health care, prescription drug prices, low-income assistance, rural needs, clean energy, transportation and consumer interests, according to the AARP.

He keeps other AARP members abreast of things with editing the chapter newsletter and serving as its treasurer. He travels the state as part of the organization's speaker's bureau, particularly answering questions about Medicare.

Fellow volunteers appreciate his sense of humor, in addition to his dedication.

Bob Murphy AARP Colorado's state director, said Glischinski epitomizes a great volunteer.

"There isn’t anything he won’t do to help others," Murphy said, adding, "He’s amazing.”

 In addition to his AARP legislative advocacy work, Glischinski has been an appointment member of the city of Centennial Senior Commission, improving the lives of the 50-plus crowd in his community.

He also served as an appointed member on the Arapahoe County Council on Aging, representing Centennial at annual food drives to support food banks in western Arapahoe County.

"Greg has a quiet, yet forceful presence," wrote Mary Fries of Littleton, a co-volunteer who nominated him for the AARP recognition. "He is a collaborator. His long and broad range of consumer advocacy knowledge and experience allows him to work with a historical perspective, bridging successes of the past to challenges of the present and future."

Colorado Politics: You just won the Andrus Award, AARP's top volunteer honor. How did you do that?

Greg Glischinski: I have to say I didn’t do it. I was nominated and awarded the honor by other AARP Colorado volunteers. I have been an AARP volunteer in many different positions. My goal has been to help others — not only older adults but to try and make the future better for younger people as they age. Much of my efforts have been as a legislative advocate here in Colorado for AARP where a group of volunteers work very hard to help set policy to help older adults have a better quality of life. We spend a lot of time and energy pouring through state legislative bills affecting ages 50+ and their families. It’s very much a team effort.

CP: What drew you to the organization and then drew you in so deeply?

Glischinski: I started out in one of AARP’s chapters wanting to know how I could help when it came to the inequities of our healthcare system. I immediately discovered there was a state legislative advocacy group. I thought this would be interesting, so I attended one of their meetings. After listening to the great wealth of talent in the group and their welcoming attitude, I was hooked. I knew AARP was a large organization but didn’t realize the depth of issues they work on and how effective they are, not only locally here in the state, but nationally when it comes to older adults. Many people think older adults have Medicare, so their healthcare needs are met. They don’t realize half of our members are between the ages of 50 and 64 and are still working. They are not eligible for Medicare. Medicare itself doesn’t meet many of the healthcare needs of those who are eligible. I have a background in the hi-tech industry. That led to my getting involved with utility policies like telecomm, broadband, gas and electricity. I found myself interested in some policies around payday loans and what was going on there.

CP: Is there a common thread in all the bills you tend to testify about?

Glischinski: Yes. As I mentioned before, I work to improve the quality of life for older adults. This isn’t for just current older adults but to mold a future that will help younger people should they be lucky enough live to be considered an older adult.

CP: What preconceived notions, right or wrong, do you encounter at the Capitol when it comes to older Coloradans?

Glischinski: The future belongs to younger people and older adults have had their chance. This couldn’t be further from actuality. We are the largest voting group. Guess what? We are still here and have experience others have yet to encounter. Many of us not only embrace technology but we help build the base people use in today’s technology.

The notion that AARP has a political side they prefer ... is not true. AARP is nonpartisan, does not contribute to political campaigns or political PACs. In fact, as volunteer legislative advocates and leaders, we cannot conduct any political activities in the name of AARP.

CP: How ready should taxpayers and Baby Boomers be about the so-called silver tsunami?

Glischinski: My instant answer is, if you live long enough you too will be in our place. Right now, we are experiencing approximately 10,000 people a day in our country reaching 65. Between 2015 and 2050, the increase of older adults will be 200%. If we can afford healthcare, life expectancy will be much higher than today. This means people will be able to contribute much longer to the well being of society. If people don’t feel that way, then who will be the first to jump off the cliff with that mindset? We should be making policies that set a better future and not the right-now fix.

CP: A lot of people have opinions, like you do. How do they affect their issues?

Glischinski: They get involved. There are many ways to get involved. Some don’t require much action, other than picking up the phone and calling your elected official, whether local, state or federal. And most of all, vote!

CP: Have you ever sat down to testify before a committee and forgotten what you were going to say? If so, how did you save it?

Glischinski: No. I always have a written testimony, however, sometimes I sound like I’m reading, which I am. You only have two or three minutes, so I sometimes end up using my testimony as an outline to get my point across. My passion comes out when I do that. I’ve been asked some interesting questions by committee members, however. Once I was asked if I believe that loan sharks exist. It was somewhat out of context, so I just smiled and said, ‘Sure, I see them.'

CP: Best trip you ever went on?

Glischinski: That’s a hard one. I’ve traveled a lot over the years in my profession and now as a volunteer. One super bowl week a couple friends and I bareboat a sailboat for a few days out of San Diego. We forgot it was super bowl week. Denver and Washington were playing. We sailed over to Mission Bay and got a slip at the hotel where the Washington Football team was staying. We went into the hotel and found Washington fans partying. We immediately went to the gift shop and bought Denver Bronco hats. I asked a family taking pictures of each other if I could take a picture of a family who turned out to be the family of a federal judge. He invited me to be their guest to the NFL dinner that night at another hotel.

Fast Facts:

Where did you grow up? Sometimes I tell people I grew up in Disneyland. It’s somewhat true since I did grow up in Anaheim, CA and spent a lot of time in the park.

What was your dream job and what was your actual job? I wanted to fly airplanes. I ended up still traveling a lot as a tech support person then sales in computer technology.

Are you a good dancer? No. I used to fake my dancing by using my skiing moves. Down, up, turn, down.

Kids? I have a son, a daughter-in-law and two wonderful grandkids.

What's the most 'Colorado' thing about you? I’m colorful like our state.

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