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.
Monday, March 10 2014 8:28 PM EDT2014-03-11 00:28:25 GMT
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