Published by the Macon County News

John and Dorothy Crawford were awarded the 2013 Citizen(s) of the Year Award in January at the annual Franklin Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

Franklin Chamber of Commerce board member Stacy Guffey, who presented the award, reviewed the rich history of the couple who will celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary this year. They met in 1940 while studying at the University of North Carolina and were married in 1942, moving back to John’s hometown of Franklin in 1945. Dorothy began working for the Macon County Department of Social Services in 1952, became director in 1959 and worked there until she retired in 1984.

John is a veteran and flew for the Army Air Corps. After their return to Franklin, he began delivering mail for Macon County’s Route Five, which according to his quote in an article in The Macon County News “was 102 miles long and had 502 mailboxes on it.” And according to Ronnie Beale, who as a kid lived on Route Five, he always had candy for the kids he met along the route. “Many of us have rolled down our windows for him on the corner of Main and Iotla streets to donate money towards his efforts to raise money for needy veterans through the Buddy Poppy Program,” said Guffey.

Since retiring in 1984, the couple began volunteering on boards and working with organizations in the region and throughout the state. A charter member of the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature, Dorothy has tirelessly advocated on all issues affecting the aging; protective service, placement, health, mental health, and financial, among many others. She is widely regarded as one of the few private citizens in the state who can get the governor to answer her telephone calls.

She helped establish the first adult day care center in the county and the first in-home service program that is now Home Health. She advocated for and got an adult care facility and later a nursing home in the county. She successfully advocated for the establishment of the Senior Aide program and for dental and eye care for all. She has served as state coordinator of Health Advocacy Services of AARP; volunteered for more than 20 years in SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program); member of area Agency on Aging Advisory Committee; member of Board of Smoky Mountain Mental Health; member of Macon Adult Care Home and Nursing Home Advisory Committee; and N.C. Medicare Beneficiary Committee.

In addition, she has served on numerous boards and task forces, including Western North Carolina Tomorrow, Chair of Human Resource

Committee, with emphasis on long term care; and Friends of Residents in long term care. She has worked tirelessly on nursing home and adult care home quality issues and has helped organizations to get political policy makers on panels to address these issues. She organizes annual forums on Medicare and Medicaid to keep consumers up-dated; She has helped organize workshops on end of life issues, especially health power of attorney.

CrawfordsAs the couple accepted the award, they reassured those assembled that they would continue to work for the county with no plans to retire.

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