Marilyn Ransom dedicated her entire life to books, learning and teaching. And this year, Walker County recognized her efforts and named her the 2016 Walker County Citizen of the Year.
Many of the influential changes in LaFayette and Walker County are the result of 86-year-old Ransom's tireless work to better the local communities, said Rachel Willeford, Walker County Gala master of ceremonies.
"I was just very honored, humbled and surprised," said Ransom, who moved to the area in 1943. "I think everyone there [at the Walker County Gala] deserves the award, because these are the people that give to their community and meet the needs of the community."
Throughout her years of service, Ransom served as a board member for the LaFayette-Walker County Library, the Care Mission, Marsh House, LaFayette Women's Club and the Walker County Historical Society. She was also president of the fundraising arm of the library and helped found a library for the Family Crisis Center and the LaFayette Downtown Development Authority.
"Over her years volunteering at the LaFayette-Walker County Library, Marilyn was part of several grants that benefited the library. She was even part of organizing grant-writing workshops at the library," Willeford said.
In addition to her community service work, Ransom, who holds a master's in education from Berry College, taught for 23 years in several county schools and taught Sunday school for 26 years at First Baptist Church of LaFayette.
"I started at North LaFayette Elementary School and ended there," said Ransom. "I liked North LaFayette. Linwood Elementary School [now closed] was the greatest one to work in."
Not wanting to sit still after retirement, she started the LaFayette Book Club, which meets in members' homes every other month.
"I play bridge," Ransom added. "At my age, you keep busy."
Looking back, she said she is most proud that she was able to help start Walker County's League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan group which encourages informed and active participation in government.
"Most of all, Marilyn is humble," Willeford said. "She doesn't think her years of service are outstanding or rare. She says that there are other people in Walker County more deserving of this honor than she. For all these reasons and more, Marilyn Ransom is deserving of the Walker County Citizen of the Year Award."