By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Methodist Senior Services’ leader Steve McAlilly will get a high-five from his peers next month.
LeadingAge, formerly the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, will honor the chief executive officer of the Tupelo-based organization with its 2012 Award of Honor. It’s the highest award given by the organization that represents more than 6,000 non-profit groups and agencies that serve elders.
“It’s really an organizational award; I’m proud of it for our organization,” said McAlilly, who didn’t know he was being considered for the award. “The award is a recognition of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.”
LeadingAge cited McAlilly’s leadership as Methodist Senior Services built the nation’s first Green Houses at Traceway in Tupelo a decade ago and grappled with the destruction of the Seashore Retirement Community in Biloxi during Hurricane Katrina.
The Green Houses, which are designed to give elders and caregivers more control over their daily routines in an environment that is more like home, are being replicated across the country.
“We knew it was going to be really good, but it has exceeded our expectations,” McAlilly said.
Methodist Senior Services had to make the difficult decision to move Seashore campus away from Beach Boulevard to higher ground after Katrina. Seashore Highlands campus, north of Interstate 10 in a safer location, is expected to be completed in the spring.
“A restaurant on the beach can close down, and everyone goes home,” something that’s not possible for a retirement community responsible for 200 older adults, McAlilly said. “We had 50 people who rode out the storm on campus. … that was the longest night of my life.”
McAlilly, who has led Methodist Senior Services since 1993, will receive the award at LeadingAge convention in Denver on Oct. 21.
Methodist Senior Services started in Tupelo and now operates 12 retirement communities across Mississippi. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.