BIG STONE GAP — Mountain Empire Older Citizens Inc. has announced another honor for its retired executive director, Marilyn Pace Maxwell.
The MEOC board unanimously passed a resolution naming Maxwell the organization’s executive director emeritus. Maxwell retired last October after 38 years leading MEOC to prominence as Southwest Virginia’s groundbreaking organization delivering services to the region’s elderly.
Citing her focus on mission and commitment to service for older citizens and their families in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton, the MEOC board resolution also praised Maxwell’s development of multi-generational programs including the Southwest Virginia Children’s Advocacy Center and the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center.
Under Maxwell’s leadership, MEOC also developed and operates one of the first rural Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in the nation, as well as a successful public transit service providing transportation and contracted service to other health and human services providers.
The resolution recognizes Maxwell’s career accomplishment in growing MEOC from a staff of three with a planning grant of $12,500 to an employer of over 300 with a $12.8 million operating budget.
“Marilyn is a visionary,” said MEOC Board Chairman A.J. Hatmaker. “It is because of her leadership that MEOC offers a startling number of services to assist not only older persons but people of all ages in our area. Through her years of exemplary service, she has earned the admiration, respect and love of MEOC clients, staff and the community. The board wanted to recognize that.”
Michael Wampler, MEOC’s second executive director, said Maxwell “has been an inspiration. She is truly an extraordinary leader whose passion for serving the community has been instilled in all of us. Marilyn’s heartfelt dedication continues to resonate with everyone who has the honor of working with her throughout the years.”
Maxwell said she is “deeply honored and very grateful for this recognition and for the opportunity to continue to be of service to MEOC and the literally thousands of people served annually by MEOC.”
She thanked the board and Wampler “for their trust and friendship and for their decades of outstanding administrative leadership of MEOC.”