Phil Chin of Falmouth has received AARP’s most prestigious honor, the Andrus Award for community service.

Chin helps lead a monthly fraud watch series dedicated to spreading awareness of current scams and how to best avoid falling victim to them. He also helped establish the Maine AARP speakers bureau to expand its outreach, and he is a driver safety instructor for the organization, too.

“We are deeply proud to be presenting this award to Phil,” said Noel Bonam, state director for AARP Maine. “His record of achievement, service and commitment provides an excellent example of the power of giving back to others.”


Chin said he was “humbled” and “honored” to receive the award, which is named for AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus and celebrates those who make a difference in the lives of others.

“I think all I said at the awards ceremony is ‘wow,’” Chin said. “I think that sums it up.”

Chin started volunteering for AARP shortly after moving to Maine in 2006 from New York City, where he worked as a radio producer. As a former adjunct college professor, he put his passion for teaching to work as a driver safety instructor. He took on more volunteer responsibilities as the years unfolded.


“The volunteer experience has been wonderful,” Chin told The Forecaster.

His work experience and attitude have helped inform his volunteerism.

As a young man living in New York City, Chin walked into the CBS offices and got a job as a copy person. He didn’t have a college degree in journalism, but he worked his way up through the network and eventually became a radio producer.

Radio was important because it was the fastest way to deliver news at the time when no internet or streaming services existed.

“I enjoyed everything about radio,” Chin said. “I liked the adrenaline rush of deadlines, the scope of the work, the variety.”

Before he retired, he served as an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University of Journalism and as president of the board of directors of the Queens College Chorus.


He and his wife, Mary Louise, retired in Maine and settled in Falmouth, where he became a member of the library’s board of trustees. He also is on the board of the Freeport Players and has performed with many theater groups in the area.

“We’re very pleased with Maine and the Maine lifestyle,” he said. “It’s the way life should be.”

Volunteering will always be a part of his life, he said. He enjoys working with the AARP community and leadership team, and believes volunteering is the best way to interact with people.

Chin exemplifies the motto of AARP, Bonam said: “To serve and not to be served.”

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