For those of you who still think life gets less interesting as you get older – prepare to be red-faced.
Over the past five years, more than 300 adults over the age of 60 have been awarded the Purpose Prize – an award for extraordinary work done during an “Encore Career.”
The 2010 prize winners represented an amazing range of issues and skill sets, from helping homeowners avoid foreclosure to helping the people of rural Afghanistan. The creativity and drive of these older Americans is inspiring.
One example is Bo Webb. In 2004, Webb co-founded Mountain Justice, which uses grassroots organizing, public education and nonviolent civil disobedience to abolish surface mining and protect the cultural and natural heritage of the Appalachian coal fields.
Webb did independent research and learned all about mountaintop removal mining and the destruction it was causing. Across Appalachia, Webb says, mountaintop removal has destroyed at least 500 mountains and buried nearly 2,000 miles of streams beneath rock and rubble dumped into valleys.
A former tool-and-dye shop owner who had planned a quiet retirement on family land, Webb has instead spent the past 10 years in a difficult and often dangerous fight against the coal companies and their powerful allies, the unions, even his neighbors.
Despite death threats and three arrests resulting from acts of civil disobedience, Webb remains resolute as he knocks on doors from the coalfields to Capitol Hill.
When state regulatory officials wouldn’t respond to his concerns about potential permit violations at the mine site near his home in Naoma, he videotaped the operation and hand-delivered the footage to officials in Washington, D.C.
Days later, federal regulators accompanied state officials to the site and issued four citations.
This is just one example of the amazing people who are being nominated for and awarded the Purpose Prize. The prize awards up to $100,000 each to 10 people creating new ways to solve tough social problems.
Do you know someone who fits this description? You have until March 31 to nominate someone you know who is over 65 and making a difference in an Encore Career.
Photo courtesy of nysenate.gov