One of Laurinburg’s most prominent advocates for seniors was recognized for his life of service on Wednesday.
Scotia Village resident and Retired Army Gen. Clint Willis was awarded the “Distinguished Service Award” by LeadingAge NC during a ceremony at the Laurinburg retirement community.
LeadingAge NC is a state association of approximately 65 retirement communities that offers competitive annual awards honoring excellence in service to the elderly.
In presenting the award to Willis, Scotia Village Executive Director Clarell Litchford praised his years of work on behalf of seniors, joking that when he came to live at Scotia Village “I think he came here to retire … but oh, well.”
“He has an extensive list of achievements and he has done so much for not only this community, but others,” said Litchford.
“I’m humbled by this, as I am a big believer in (LeadingAge NC),” said Willis after being handed the large plaque.
“It really is an honor, and something I am proud of … and I would like to thank each and every one of you,” added Willis, gesturing toward the large audience of Scotia Village residents.
Among the accomplishments mentioned by Litchford were Willis’ work on the Scotland County Board of Commissioners, where he was first elected in 1994.
Willis has also served as a director for the Lumber River Council of Governments where he saw to it that “Scotland County seniors received their fair share” of grant money given to seniors by that organization.
As a commissioner Willis established the “Leading by Results” system that enabled the board to “better monitor the success of programs that support senior citizens.”
Willis’ work on the NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature was also mentioned in Scotia Village’s nomination of Willis. That group deals with senior issues and attempts to influence legislation in a pro-senior manner.
Among the numerous other accomplishments mentioned in the nomination was Willis’ work on the NC State Board of Social Services, the Scotland County Senior Citizens Association, the NC Social Services Commission and the NC Senior Citizens Association, which he was elected director of in 2006.
As a resident at Scotia Village Willis has served in the residents’ association, as president from 2010-11, and has assumed leadership roles in a number of statewide senior advocacy organizations.
“It was the natural thing for me to do after my time in the (military),” said Willis of his many leadership roles.
Willis admitted that when he first started his work at Scotia Village, he did not anticipate becoming as involved as he had.
“When I first started, I really didn’t know where it was going to end, the same as when I started in the civilian sector.”
According to Willis, characteristics of his, “the silent generation,” make senior advocacy a necessity.
“I felt the call to help people of my generation live quality lives, and I worked hard to see that we got our just dues,” said Willis, adding that he was especially pleased to be given the award in a room filled with “personal friends.”