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Article appeared in a recent issue of the Post, written by Glenn Gannaway, Staff Writer

Dawn Simpson, president of the National Association of Area Agencies
on Aging, praises Marilyn Pace Maxwell for her dedication and compassion
during the announcement of the Mountain Empire Older Citizens'
executive director as winner of the Excellence in Leadership award.

Excellent leadership has been a hallmark of Marilyn Pace Maxwell's tenure as executive director of Mountain Empire Older Citizens, and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging recognized as much by selecting her as its national "Excellence in Leadership" award winner.

Maxwell, who began MEOC in 1974, is retiring at the end of October.

"Marilyn shows a dedication and passion for her work that is truly admirable.  What she has accomplished is truly remarkable, and it is an honor to recognize her inspiring leadership with this award," the association's president, Dawn Simpson, said in presenting the award during the n4a Annual Conference and Trade Show held July 7 - 11 in Denver.

Over the past four decades, Maxwell has advocated on all levels for the people of southwestern Virginia, developing a comprehensive infrastructure of nationally recognized in-home services and family caregiver support services, the national association noted, adding that MEOC has grown by creating a diverse funding base to provide services and has increased its staff to 315 employees under Maxwell's leadership.

"Marilyn exemplifies servant leadership in all that she does and has earned this acclaim for her decades of service to our Commonwealth," said Commissioner Jim Rothrock of the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

"This award is so deserved," MEOC Care Coordination Director Judy Miller said.  "I think this award acknowledges what all the employees here at MEOC already know, that we have the most excellent leader in the nation."

"We are so very proud of Marilyn.  We all just really love working at MEOC, and Marilyn is the reason," Miller said.  "She recognizes talent.  She lets you work."

"The organization we work for is what it is because of her vision," Miller said.  "And because of her unselfishness, Marilyn doesn't crave credit.  She wants to provide services.  She is mission-oriented, and therefore the agency and all the employees here are mission-oriented."

"If you don't share that vision, you maybe don't stick around for very long, but we have a lot of people who have been here a long time.  They stick around and find a home, and it is because of her mission, her energy," Miller said.  "Her energy is infectious and she is so energetic and decicated."

MEOC is home to one of the nation's first rural PACE programs.  Despite the challenges of developing transportation services in the region, Maxwell established a coordinated health and human services transportation system, hired a full-time mobility manager and launched a growing volunteer driver program.

Maxwell has been the congressional appointee for the Ninth Congressional District for the last three White House Conferences on Aging. 




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