AARP Rhode Island Honors James “Jeff” Carney

Pictured, from left, 2018 AARP Andrus Award winner James “Jeff” Carney, AARP Foundation Tax Aide Rhode Island State coordinator Ray Gorman and AARP Rhode Island State Director Kathleen Connell. Photo Credit: Mike Barca/AARP Photo

James “Jeff” Carney, a resident of Saunderstown, was honored by AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization for people age 50 and over, as its 2018 AARP Rhode Island Andrus Award for Community Service — the organization’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award for community service.

Receiving AARP’s Most Prestigious Volunteer Award

The award was presented to Carney at a luncheon ceremony on Friday, December 14, at the Quidnessett Country Club, North Kingstown. Nearly 100 people, including many Tax Aide volunteers from across the state, gathered for the event. Also attending were US Senator Jack Reed and Congressman James Langevin, each of whom presented citations.

Carney and other Andrus Award recipients across the nation were chosen for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve the community in or for which the work was performed, and inspire others to volunteer.

According to AARP Rhode Island, Carney received its prestigious volunteer award for his remarkable service, which has greatly benefited Rhode Islanders, supporting AARP’s vision and mission, and inspiring other volunteers.

Carney served AARP Rhode Island as state coordinator of the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program before retiring last year. Tax Aide prepares, free of charge, returns for some 7,000 Rhode Islanders each tax season.

“This award is a symbol to the public that we can all work together for the greater good,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Kathleen Connell, in a December 17th statement announcing the award. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve. Jeff’s service embodies the words of our founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto was, ‘To serve, not to be served,” says Connell.

Quite a Professional Career

“Through his years of service and leadership in the AARP Tax-Aide program, Jeff has enhanced the lives of thousands of Rhode Islanders by ensuring that their taxes are prepared in a safe, supportive, and non-threatening environment,” added Ray Gorman, Carney’s successor as state Tax Aide coordinator. “Similarly, through the annual training of volunteers, people whose past careers were usually in areas than taxes, Jeff provided the support and instilled them with confidence to prepare taxes in the same competent and caring environment.”

Following a distinguished 30-year Naval career, Mr. Carney worked within the defense industry for an additional nine years. At American Systems Corporation (Chantilly, VA) he was a senior engineer, a member of the technical staff and Vice President for Naval Weapon and Combat Systems with responsibility for systems engineering, integration and technical support. Later he joined Lockheed Martin, Sippican (Marion, MA) as their business area manager for active electronic warfare countermeasures.

As a Naval Officer, Mr. Carney gained significant experience and expertise in naval operations, policy development, program management, systems design and acquisition, systems integration, test and evaluation, installation and facility management, and environmental management. An Engineering Duty Officer for twenty years, Mr. Carney commanded three naval shore activities; was Deputy Program Executive Officer for Ship Self-Defense programs and was Program Manager for Surface Electronic Warfare. Mr. Carney’s duty stations include shipboard, staff and headquarters assignments with a specialty in naval combat and weapon systems.

Mr. Carney is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.  He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University’s Executive Management Program. Mr. Carney has been recognized by the states of Indiana and Kentucky with their highest civilian award for leadership and community service; designated a Sagamore of the Wabash and commissioned a Kentucky Colonel.  A veteran, Mr. Carney retired from the Navy in June 2000 with the grade of Captain.

After nearly 40 years of combined military and defense industry service, Mr. Carney is now fully retired and lives in Saunderstown, RI with his wife Kathleen.   He joined the Tax-Aide program in 2011 as a counselor; since then, he has held numerous program leadership positions including State Coordinator from 2012-2017.  In recognition of his many contributions to the program, he was named a Tax-Aide Fellow in 2017.  Currently, he is the state Training Specialist, Technology Specialist and South County District Coordinator.  They have three grown children and six grandchildren living in the greater Washington, DC area.

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