Twenty people from Mississippi were honored as ageless heroes in a ceremony Tuesday in Hattiesburg. More than 300 people were nominated.
The annual designation by Mississippi Blue Cross-Blue Shield targets contributions of people in retirement age in five categories: community involvement, creativity, love of learning, new beginnings, and vitality.
Among those were Lucille Wood of Louisville, Miss., and Hugh Thomasson of Philadelphia, Miss.
Wood was honored as a statewide hero in the love of learning category. She is in her 52nd year of teaching at East Central Community College in Decatur. She says that in her long career, this is the biggest honor she's ever received.
"It's just one of the highlights, I suppose, of my career. I've gotten honors in other areas, but nothing quite like what they've done today. It's a real honor," Wood said.
Despite being 77, Thomasson shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he was named the state's football official of the year in 1999. He says that he is unworthy of this award.
"I guess I'm being honored because I've gotten old," joked Thomasson. "But it is an honor that I don't feel like I deserve. There has to be a lot of people more deserving than I am, but I'm glad to be here."
Both honorees say that the key to their success late in life is to stay active doing something that you enjoy.