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Golden Deeds: James earns annual award

Her eyes clinched onto tears with each blink, her face brightening with surprise as the list of accomplishments being read aloud pointed out only one person in the room: her

Nancy Beeson James was named the Brookhaven Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds Award winner Friday night during an annual banquet hosted by the club.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had something to shock me as much as that did,” James said after the ceremony, the congratulations and hugs of others in attendance piling up around her. “Ever since I can remember I’ve been reading about the Golden Deeds Award.”

As he presented the award, Exchange Club member Harold Gary described James briefly before he identified her as the winner.

He called the latest Golden Deeds winner outgoing, active and a hard worker.

“She takes action when so many others just think,” Gary said.

The Golden Deeds award honors individuals that selflessly work to make a better community. The club selects the annual winner from nominations made by the community.

Some of James’ golden deeds were described during the banquet. She visits every nursing home in Brookhaven and Monticello each months to play the piano and sing for the residents.

Music has long been a part of James’ life – she began singing at 10.

“It’s just part of me,” she said. “If I don’t get to sing every few days, I feel like something’s missing.”

As much as she loves the music itself, though, James finds perhaps as much joy in sharing that music with others.

“They can’t come to you so you go to them. They just love the old songs,” James said of the nursing home residents. “It’s just a blessing that the Lord lets me do it.”

She also hosts a senior citizen’s luncheon each month for 50-60 people. She provides most of the food at each luncheon and also takes food to some homebound people.

James, 68, retired about 14 years ago after 20 years as a cafeteria worker in the Brookhaven School District.

She approached her day job with the same enthusiasm she does her volunteer work.

“The children were special to me,” she said.

With her days at the school behind her, though, she’s developed a deep affection for the senior citizens she works with.

“So many times they are forgotten, she said, explaining her motivation.

The mother of four is a Lincoln County native. A member of Pleasant Grove Methodist Church, Beeson also plays the piano at church and tends the grounds of the church and its parsonage and cemetery.

She doesn’t take much credit, though, for her long list of golden deeds.

Said James, “The Lord has blessed me with good health and energy.”