Most people in Bedford County likely know Gene Williams is one of the most decorated volunteers around. Williams says ministering especially to the lonely and in-need members of Bedford County, well, that's just a blessing, as far as he's concerned...
Most people in Bedford County likely know Gene Williams is one of the most decorated volunteers around. Williams says ministering especially to the lonely and in-need members of Bedford County, well, that's just a blessing, as far as he's concerned.
When talking to this life-long Bedford Countian, one will likely realize he's quite humble about his volunteerism. But when pausing for a moment with him in the sunshine, a person might easily learn how all the things he does for others is actually a calling upon his life.
"God called me to be a servant," Williams recently shared.
In 2020, the 75-year-old received "The President's Volunteer Service Award," which is sponsored by AmeriCorps. This volunteer "Points of Life" honor is bestowed upon citizens who demonstrate a commitment to strengthening the nation and communities through their service.
The official letter from former President Donald Trump read: "On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans and those most in need. Through your dedicated service, you have endured the continuation of America's unparalleled commitment to improving the lives of others."
This honor, and others he's received over a lifetime, do mean a lot to Williams, who serves local veterans faithfully too. He does that because it is the right thing to do; he's not a veteran.
Other acts of Williams' service include working with the American Red Cross, which afforded him in the past to work with victims of Hurricane Katrina. Also on his regular to-do list is serving Meals on Wheels to seniors.
"I've traveled about 7 or 800 miles a month since 2008."
The bigger picture, he says, behind delivering meals to his fellow seniors, is that so many just need someone to talk with during their day. Williams says he likes to give them the chance to talk about everything from the weather to their grandchildren, when he carries them their meal.
In addition, Williams is curator of the Fly Cultural Arts building museum. He's also still making horse equipment within his part-time job at Winner's Circle.
With the silver in his hair shining from the sunlight, Williams talks about growing up here in this county; he's never departed. He recalls being born in the old hospital, which was where First Christian Church on Madison Street is now located.
Over the years, few things have surprised Williams. But he admits that in 2010, when he received the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce "Derry Eakin Volunteer of the Year Award," he was caught by surprise.
"I was shocked."
While he could step back and relax more, Williams said that's just not in his nature. He said helping people isn't an option for him.
"I wouldn't feel right, if I didn't."
As if he doesn't show his talents in many ways, he's also a pretty good cook, as shown by his recipe for Caramel Crescents.
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. margarine, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 small box (3 1/2 oz.) instant butterscotch pudding
dry, do not mix with milk
1 C. broken pecans
2 cans crescent refrigerator dinner rolls
Press 1 can crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9x13 ungreased pan. Press seams together. Spread half of sugar mixture on top. Press the second can of rolls on top of the sugar mixture, being sure to press the seams together. Add remaining sugar mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
3/4 C. powdered sugar
Mix powdered sugar with enough milk to drizzle over hot cake. Cut into squares and remove from pan.
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