Guilford County government wants to hear from you.
If you’re about to turn 100 years old that is.
The county has posted notice on its website that it’s seeking to find those aged citizens; but don’t be afraid that the county is going to come after you for unpaid taxes from the 1950s. Instead, it’s all good: the Board of Commissioners wants to find people to include in the Guilford County Honor A Centenarian program – a nice thing the county does for citizens who make it to the 100-year mark.
Commissioner Kay Cashion said the program is really not just for the people being honored but is for all citizens.
“They are inspirations to everyone,” Cashion said.
The program, which is over a decade old now, often flies under the radar but it got some notoriety earlier this year when the commissioners honored a high-profile centenarian. In October, Cashion presided over the commissioners’ recognition ceremony for one of the county’s best known 100-year-olds – former Guilford County Sheriff Walter “Sticky” Burch.
In the ceremonies – held a few times a year in the commissioners’ meeting room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House – near the start of the meeting the board passes a resolution honoring the life of the centenarian, who’s given a certificate. Usually, the honoree speaks to the board at the televised meeting – very often conveying the life advice they’ve acquired over the years and sometimes even handing out useful secrets for living a long time.
Cashion said credit for the program goes to a former commissioner.
“This is a program that was brought to us and was started by Linda Shaw,” Cashion said.
Shaw said this week that the original idea goes back to when she was the 27-year-old president of the Harper Valley PTA (yes, the same one made famous in the 1960s country song). She said there was a very old teacher in the school system who was being honored, and Shaw, who as PTA president was doing the introductions, and had a funny Freudian slip.
“I was trying to say, ‘Would some of you students please escort her up here,’” Shaw said, “but, instead, I said, ‘Would you please support her up here.’”
When Shaw proposed the idea for the program to honor the county’s centenarians, former Commissioner Bruce Davis really liked the suggestion as well and the other commissioners at the time all got on board.
“I think everybody who makes it to a hundred years ought to be recognized,” Shaw said. “The program was a way for us to do that,” adding that she hoped to be around long enough to get her own certificate one day.
The county is asking those interested for themselves or for family members to contact the Guilford County Clerk to the Board’s office at least 45 days before the 100th birthday of the honoree.