Best Life

Barbranda Lumpkins Walls is a features editor for AARP Media who spotlights everyday people doing exceptional things. These folks might not make national news, but they deserve a shout-out. She loves pop culture — especially food, fashion, television and R&B music. Family, friends and spirituality play important roles in her life. And traffic.

Helping the Disabled, One Invention at a Time

In this season of thanks and giving, Bill Deimling of Cincinnati considers himself one of the lucky ones. That’s because he gets to give more than he receives. Deimling, 72, is a cofounder of May We Help, a Cincinnati-based volunteer organization that creates custom-designed devices to help people with disabilities live more independently. The Army veteran and retired mold maker is clear about the group’s mission: “We don’t do home improvements — anybody can do that. And we don’t make …

A New Washington Memorial Just for Disabled Vets

In June 1969, Dennis Joyner was a 20-year-old soldier on patrol in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta when he encountered a land mine that ripped off his legs and an arm. He had only been in the war-torn country 32 days. Now 66, Joyner has learned to navigate life over the years from a wheelchair and is one of the nation’s more than 3 million disabled vets. He will also be among the crowds at the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled …

Biking for Books … All the Way Across the Country

Rich McKinless believes books are the way to open the windows of the world to children. So he spent the summer pedaling across America to raise awareness and money for literacy. McKinless, 57, of Arlington, Va., ended a 4,351-mile, “sea to shining sea” cycling journey on Sept. 28 and raised more than $45,000 for First Book, a nonprofit that provides access to new books for children from low-income families. He became acquainted with the organization while working at audit and …

George W. Bush Offers Bill Clinton Some Grandpa Advice

Grandfatherly advice trumps partisan politics, even among former commanders in chief. >> 23 Fabulous and Famous Grandmas President George W. Bush gave a heads-up to President Bill Clinton about how things will change in his family after Clinton welcomes his first grandchild. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting a baby sometime this fall. The two former heads of state from rival parties appeared together Monday at the Newseum in Washington to announce the Presidential Leadership Scholars …

Long Island Weather Watcher, 101, Sets Record for Service

At 101, Richard G. Hendrickson is no weather wimp. He’s been reporting temperatures and conditions to the National Weather Service from his family farm on Long Island in Bridgehampton, N.Y., for 84 years – rain, shine, sleet or snow. For his faithful service, the National Weather Service recently honored Hendrickson as the nation’s longest-serving volunteer weather observer. A new 80-year service award has been named in his honor. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  “I don’t think I …

University President Takes Salary Cut to Help Minimum-Wage Workers

Raymond Burse believes in spreading the wealth. The interim president of Kentucky State University is giving up more than $90,000 of his annual salary to boost pay for the school’s minimum-wage employees. “This is not a publicity stunt,” Burse told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “You don’t give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people. This is something I’ve been thinking about from the very beginning.” Thanks to Burse’s generosity, lower-paid workers will immediately see more money in their …