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Tucson advocate for older adults receives prestigious AARP Arizona award

Tucson advocate for older adults receives prestigious AARP Arizona award

Jim Murphy, a former Tucson politician and an advocate for older adults, was recognized with AARP Arizona’s “most prestigious” community service award, officials announced earlier this week.

Murphy, 83, was selected to receive the 2020 Andrus Award for Community Service for his work supporting AARP’s vision and mission to “strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment,” officials said in a news release.

“This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, AARP state director. Recipients across the country were chosen for their ability to enhance lives, improve the community in or for which the work was performed and inspire others to volunteer.

“I have been fortunate in my public service life to be surrounded with so many good people with like minds and have been able to accomplish many things,” said Murphy about the significance of the award.

“I enjoy bringing people together to work and accomplish projects,” he said, explaining his work in the creation of Kino Community Hospital, which now is Banner-University Medical Center South; in literacy programs such as Reading Seed Inc., which originally was founded by the Rotary Club of Tucson; and in social services programs, including Tu Nidito Children & Family Services.

Murphy is a former Tucson city councilman, county board of supervisor and retired president and chief executive officer of Pima Council on Aging. He served on the city council from 1965 to 1968, and resigned to run for the board of supervisors where he served from 1969 to 1975. He then was appointed assistant county administrator, including working as director of the county’s health-care system until retiring in 1997.

Murphy then began working for PCOA and was named president and CEO in 2007 and served until 2014.

He is president of the Tucson Housing Foundation Board of Trustees and is working with housing experts, government leaders and caregivers to provide affordable housing for low-income older adults.

Murphy, who serves on numerous boards and commissions dealing with housing, neighborhood and social services issues, also works with ELDER Alliance, which is a network of organizations supporting quality of life for seniors.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar.

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