Demopolis residents gathered Thursday night to officially recognize one of their own. During a reception held at the Demopolis Civic Center, a large crowd honored Sylvia Holland for earning the title of Ms. Alabama Nursing Home 2015.

Ms. Holland, an 87-ear-old resident of Woodhaven Manor in Demopolis, was celebrated with speeches from local leaders and received numerous gifts and well wishes. The highlight of the evening came when Demopolis Mayor Michael Grayson presented Ms. Holland with a key to the city.

“I understand this pageant is about making a difference in the world around you,” Mayor Grayson said. “Ms. Holland, I understand that’s what you’re doing. It is a pleasure to present you a key to the City of Demopolis.”

When it was her turn to address the crowd, Ms. Holland, who is originally from Hartford, Alabama, told how she adjusted to her new hometown.

“When I came here I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. I’m in a strange place. I wonder if I can ever adjust to not being at home?’ ” Holland said. “But you know what, Demopolis is a wonderful place. I really like it here. I love the people here.”

Ms. Holland also took the opportunity to explain how living in a nursing home has improved her health and quality of life.

“I always thought when you went in the nursing home you just grew old and died, and that’s not the way it is,” Holland said. “We have activities, church services and crafts. We have some of the best residents, some of the smartest people, some of the most interesting people. We have some of the best staff too. They’re all so kind to us and take such good care of us. My family says they haven’t seen me so happy in a long, long time. Being here, where everybody seems to love me, I feel so happy and I’m enjoying stay here. I think Alabama has some great nursing homes.”

After the ceremony, Woodhaven Manor Administrator Brandon Taylor thanked the local businesses, health care companies, Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce and volunteers who made the event a success.

More about Sylvia Holland

From a field of 62 contestants, Ms. Holland was crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home 2015 at a statewide pageant held in Birmingham in July. As Ms. Alabama Nursing Home, Ms. Holland travels to various nursing homes and community events to share her experiences. She also serves as an ambassador for nursing home residents at several Alabama Nursing Home Association events.

Around Demopolis, Ms. Holland is known for the arts and crafts she makes at Woodhaven Manor. She has made donated more than 50 dollhouses to local residents and nursing home staff members. You’ll also find her participating in church services and offering assistance to her fellow nursing home residents. Ms. Holland and her husband, Earl, we married for 40 years. She has six children, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Ms. Holland would like to attend your event. Contact Woodhaven Manor at 334-289-2741 if you would to schedule Ms. Alabama Nursing Home to attend your special event.