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Senior Volunteers Getting Recognition: Nominate Today

The kindest, most generous, and overall best volunteer in the country lives right here in Vermont.
RANDOLPH, Vt. - The kindest, most generous, and overall best volunteer in the country lives right here in Vermont.

He's best known as Major and he won the title of Volunteer of the Year, around this time last year.

"Hello there!" said Major Melvin McLaughlin.

In these halls, these feet are familiar. "I am here seven days a week," McLaughlin said.

The voice has been heard before. "Free hugs right here! Has anyone told you that they love you?" said McLaughlin. "I love you, I love you! I'm the richest man."

Hugs, joy, and jokes are shared with every patient.

"You've got more hair than I have!" Major said to a newborn.

Major Melvin McLaughlin spent 25 years in the Marines and the last 40 at the Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. In 2013, he was voted Volunteer of the Year by the Salute to Senior Service program.

"I was truly shocked when they said I was the national winner," McLaughlin said.

State winners get $500 from home instead senior care for the non-profit of their choice. National winners also get $5,000 for their volunteer work. The reward, priceless.

"You get a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement, it gives you a reason to get up," Patrice Thabault, Home Instead Senior Care Franchise owner, said.

At 96 years young, there's no sign of stopping.  "I start in the little folks department," said McLaughlin.

His only complaint. "These halls get longer every day."

He's touched so many lives. If you've ever done volunteer work, you know how satisfying it can be.

It's time to elect a new volunteer of the year. Starting Wednesday, nominations are being accepted through March 1. You just have to be over 65 and volunteer at least 15 hours a month.
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