Three little words: I love you. It's Maj. Melvin McLaughlin's mantra. The 95-year-old says it to everyone he runs into.
"When I see you, I ask you, 'Did anyone today tell you they love you?' And if the answer is no, then I say, 'Well, God loves you and I do too," he said.
He used to say it to his wife every day, but after she died four years ago he decided to keep spreading love. The major has spent more than four decades dedicated to service, serving in the Marines and now volunteering at Gifford Medical Center. Everyone calls him Major.
"I only met him once and he meant a lot to me in that one meeting," said Gary Champman, who was once a patient at the hospital.
"I think he's great," said Penny Maxfield of Gifford Medical Center. "It's a ray of sunshine every day."
You may remember Major, he was featured in our Super Senior segment. He was such an inspiration, he was named the top senior volunteer in Vermont, and then it was off to nationals. The hospital linked our story for the judges to see, and he ended up winning. Major is this year's Outstanding Senior Volunteer in the country.
"I'm overwhelmed really," he said.
For winning, Home Instead Senior Care donated $5,500 to the hospital in the major's honor. A big moment-- but what touched Major the most was having his three daughters all together.
"I am just totally overwhelmed and all I can think of is he's going to be one hard act to follow" laughed Audrey McLaughlin Rhoades, Major's daughter.
The major was also surprised with a plaque that will be outside the hospital with the phrase he's known for.
Reporter Gina Bullard: What did you think of the plaque?
Major McLaughlin: I am overwhelmed because every day that's going to be a constant reminder of others, even though I probably won't be here because I'll be 96 in August.
Saluting a senior that brightens up everyone's life with just a few little words.
Friday, December 6 2013 8:02 AM EST2013-12-06 13:02:46 GMT
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November. Police say three armed men targeted the home on Summit Street the night of November 18 and took property out by force.More >>
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 7:24 AM EST2013-12-06 12:24:22 GMT
Vermont state employees will be getting paid more. The State Employees' Association say workers will see 2.5 percent pay increased each of the next two years. The tentative deal also calls for increasedMore >>
Vermont state employees will be getting paid more.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:31 AM EST2013-12-06 11:31:48 GMT
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro. Officers were called to Valley Street Thursday to check on a 39-year-old woman. While on the scene, police say the woman grabbed a largeMore >>
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:28 AM EST2013-12-06 11:28:49 GMT
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower. The College Street Congregational Church was badly damaged back in October by a fire investigators say was arson.More >>
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:22 AM EST2013-12-06 11:22:45 GMT
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home. Officials say the fire broke out Thursday afternoon on Ladd Road just before 4 p.m. By the time fire crews arrived on the scene theMore >>
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:14 AM EST2013-12-06 11:14:08 GMT
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm. Last month, a typhoon tore across the eastern Philippines, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands. TheMore >>
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:09 AM EST2013-12-06 11:09:59 GMT
For years, Vermonters have described their favorite maple syrup with a letter grade or as Vermont Fancy. But beginning next year, those grading rules will change. Producers will begin labeling VermontMore >>
New regulations coming next year will change the way you shop for syrup in Vermont.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:03 AM EST2013-12-06 11:03:14 GMT
Prosecutors are calling for stiffer probation penalties for a Vermont publisher who swindled retirees out of their life savings. Last April Peter Campbell-Copp pleaded guilty to more than a dozen felonyMore >>
Prosecutors are calling for stiffer probation penalties for a Vermont publisher who swindled retirees out of their life savings.More >>