Macon County officials gathered in Franklin last Friday to recognize two individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to serving Maconians.
In honor of Dorothy and John Crawford, Macon County commissioners named the new senior services community resources center the Dorothy R. and John L. Crawford Senior Center.
“Dorothy and John Crawford are outstanding citizens of Macon County,” said Chairman of the Macon County Commissioner Kevin Corbin. “In a time when many folks look to see what they can ‘get,’ the Crawfords (at 94 & 93 years old) are still looking to give. Community service is so important for the health of any town or county, and the Crawfords are the gold standard for service. It is amazing to think that the Crawfords ‘retired’ in 1984. You would never know it. I have known them my entire life and have grown to admire their example as a family and as citizens.”
The Crawfords have remained active members of the community for nearly seven decades. The couple met while studying at the University of North Carolina in 1940, wed on March 12, 1942, and then relocated to John’s hometown of Franklin in 1945, where they have lived ever since.
“Dorothy will tell you that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be complete dedication to the people you serve and folks there is no better example of that than what’s sitting in front of you today,” said Commissioner Ronnie Beale. “In 100 years this building may not still be here, although Dorothy and John might be, but whatever building stands in its place will always be known as the Dorothy R. and John L. Crawford Senior Center.”
Dorothy began working for Franklin’s Department of Social Services on Feb. 18, 1952, and took over the position as director on Dec. 1, 1959, where she worked until she retired in 1984.
After being discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1946, John started working with the United States Post Office in 1954 and was charged with delivering mail to Route Five, which was the route he kept until he retired in January of 1984. “My route was 102 miles long and had 502 mailboxes on it,” remembered John.
After retiring in 1984, the duo began volunteering on boards and for organizations across the state. Dorothy, at age 94, represents Macon County at meetings in Raleigh on Senior Services issues. She is an advocate for DSS, AARP and mental health issues. In addition to the numerous committees on which Dorothy serves, she was also appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue to serve on the Governor's Advisory Committee on Aging and is the Macon County delegate to the North Carolina Senior Tarheel Legislature.
John, who is 93 years old, drives Dorothy to every meeting she attends, which typically finds them in Raleigh at least once a month. “Everyone always jokes that regardless of what it is, John will get me there and then I will do the talking, and well, that is true,” said Dorothy. “John does the work, and I do the talking.”
Jane Kimsey, director of the Macon County Department of Social Services explained that she started her career with DSS by volunteering for Dorothy. “When I went to interview with Dorothy, she told me she needed someone right away but didn't have the money for the position at that time,” remembered Kimsey. “So I started by volunteering and then Dorothy found the money to pay me. It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.”
Kimsey noted that Dorothy worked hard to teach her everything she knew and at the time Kimsey would dread being read the manuals and rules of DSS, but has since grown to appreciate and respect Dorothy's dedication.
Commissioner Ron Haven noted that he grew up in Macon County hearing about the legacy of the Crawfords continued dedication to working on behalf of Maconians. “For as long as I can remember, I have always heard stories about all the wonderful things that the Crawfords have done for this county,” said Haven. “I want to thank both of you personally for everything you have done and for what you are continuing to do for Macon County.”