Still Going Strong: Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall Resident Makes Volunteering a Priority in His Nineties.
August 8, 2023
At nearly 92 years old, Jack Mills, a resident of the vibrant senior living community, Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall, feels decades younger.
There is long list of volunteer activities he takes part . Whether within the community or in greater Wilmington, it would be impressive at any age.
“My head says I’m 39, but my body tells me I’m 91,” says Mills.
He moved into Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall with his wife, Caroline, in 2015.
Mills retired from his career, having owned a merchandising, sales and marketing firm. “When I left my previous career, I went into a career of volunteerism,” he says. “You can’t live here at Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall, or in Wilmington, and say, ‘there’s nothing to do.’”
One of Mills’ favorite activities has been volunteering on the board and leading tours of the Cape Fear Museum. Here he served 12 years on the board. Mills regularly brings other residents of Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall and its sister senior living community, Brightmore of Wilmington, to the museum. He introduces them to the history of Wilmington. “Wilmington was instrumental in World War II. We built all the Liberty ships here,” he notes.
The museum was so grateful for his service that they changed their bylaws so they could name him a board-member emeritus. They even gave him a special sash to wear. “Jack has been a supporter of the museum for many years,” says Kitty Yerkes, donor relations director. “He brings joy to all of us.” “They are like a second family to me,” says Mills.
He also volunteers at the Wilmington Railroad Museum, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the Cape Fear Literacy Council, the Seapath Marina and Yacht Club, and Meals on Wheels.
He is also heavily involved at Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall senior living community. Here he holds a weekly church service at the on-site Bradley Creek Health Center.
His wife, who had been in memory support at Bradley Creek Health Center, passed away in February 2022. Mills had visited his wife daily. Still continues today to make a point to visit the friends he made there. “There are 24 people there, and they are all special,” he says. “I got to know them, and they’re wonderful. We have fun together. They’re super.” Signs of a previous hobby Mills was involved in are evident on the campus in the form of very detailed models of famous ships, such as the Mayflower, displayed in glass cases at the community.
Shannon Hardy, wellness director at Carolina Bay, is impressed not just with Mills’ volunteerism but with the way he spreads happiness.
“He’s in his nineties, and you’d never know it –the way he skips down the hallways, talking to everyone and just being lovely to everyone,” she says.
As busy and involved as he is, Mills works out regularly in Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall’s state-of-the-art fitness center. He also takes one day a week to practice another of his favorite past-times –golf, which he plays, walking rather than using a golf cart, at a local course. Whatever he’s doing, staying active and giving back to others is not just a hobby but a longstanding reflection of his approach to life. “Helping others –that’s the big thing that has always been part of my life,” he says.
Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall
Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall is a full-service luxury rental retirement community set amid a greenery-filled campus and easily accessible to Wilmington, North Carolina’s bustling shopping, historic and dining districts and island beaches. Carolina Bay offers independent living that supports a vibrant lifestyle for active seniors. Bradley Creek Health Center, located onsite, provides assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing for both residents of Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall and the surrounding area, thus providing a complete continuum of care for seniors. Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall is owned and operated by Liberty Senior Living, LLC, a division of Liberty Healthcare Management that specializes in senior living and retirement communities. To learn more about Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall, please visit https://www.CarolinaBayAtAutumnHall.com. To learn more about Liberty Senior Living and the communities they offer, please visit www.LibertySeniorLiving.com .