LAURINBURG — After 39 years Nancy Walker’s love affair with the Laurinburg Housing Authority came to an end last week.
Walker took a job as property manager with the housing authority in 1979 and never looked back.
“I fell in love with the mission,” Walker said. “There were challenges every single day and there was always something new, you never knew what was going to happen when you went into work.”
Walker, originally from Tennessee, moved to Laurinburg in 1977 for her husband’s job with John Blue Company. After teaching extension classes at Richmond Community College for a few years, Walker discovered the Laurinburg Housing Authority — and the rest is history.
Not only did Walker fall in love with her job, she also fell in love with her adopted hometown and became an active member in the community.
Over the last three decades, Walker has served as a board member with the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, Scotland County Concerned Citizens for the Homeless, the Scotland Memorial Hospital board, and chairman of the Morgan Center nursing home.
Even with serving on various community organizations, Walker still found time to climb the latter at the housing authority serving in every position on the state housing board. In 1981, Walker assumed the role of director of the Laurinburg Housing Authority. Her final promotion came four years ago when she accepted the position as Senior Vice President of the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be active in professional organizations in the housing industry,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten to know people all over the county.”
Stepping into Walker’s shoes as director of the Laurinburg Housing Authority will be Karen Laviner, who says Walker will be deeply missed.
“She had never-ending knowledge about everything,” Laviner said. “She had a passion for the job. She always had integrity with the job.”
Walker won’t be completely stepping away from public housing, she plans on serving as a consultant to help with training and policy writing that other small housing authorities might need help with. She says this is a great way to stay in touch with all the people she has met through her work.
Despite going into retirement Walker has no plans of slowing down — there’s too many things she wants to do and see.
She wants to do more hands-on volunteering in the community and has 10 more states to visit on her goal of seeing the entire United States.
Walker has yet to visit Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Kansas. She also wants to return to some of the places she’s already seen to get more of a feel for the state.
The new retiree said she was lucky because she enjoyed going to her job every day and she knows not everyone gets to say that.
On June 30, her co-workers and successor presented her with a plaque in recognition of her many years of service to the city.
“I just did my job, plenty of people retire from their jobs every day and don’t get recognized I don’t see why I’m so special,” Walker said.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171.