One Nashville man is a shining example that it's never too late. Lem Majors did something at the age of 83 that deserves our attention and a round of applause.
Majors is a janitor for the Metro Development and Housing Agency, but he has lived a life where getting better is what matters to him. And for the last 16 years what mattered to him most was getting a college diploma.
Majors would never brag on how he's kept the floors shining inside Metro buildings for 49 years.
"That's what it's supposed to look like - shining," he said.
But his inspiring work ethic earned him the honor of being named Employee of the Year for 2012 by MDHA. Officials threw him a party and gave him an award, and that was only his second-best achievement of the year.
"My intention was to get a diploma. That was my intention - to get a diploma," Majors said.
Majors worked much of his life with an eighth grade education. In the 1970s he earned his GED, then 16 years ago he enrolled at American Baptist College.
It was his first time in a classroom since 1937.
"I had to go back with the kids, just to learn from eighth grade. I had to go get in the classroom with the kids to get myself up to the level they wanted me to come to," Majors said.
The path wasn't easy. For years he failed, only able to take courses in the spring semester, but his academic desire gave him an advantage over the other students.
"But I found out, they were going, while I was going to learn. And that made me a little step above them, and they was asking me questions," Majors said.
For 16 years he went to class, some days in bad weather, on his 10-speed bicycle.
Until, finally, last May he earned the achievement of a lifetime complete with diploma, gown and a grin.
"You've gotta make it happen. You are the one gotta make it happen," Majors said. "I did."
The college degree hasn't changed his daily routine, as he still seeks shiny perfection 40 hours a week.
"I want it to be the best I can do, then I'm satisfied," he said.
But at 83 he has earned the right to give others advice.
"If you start something - if you set your mind on something - never quit and don't get with nobody that's not going nowhere. You won't go nowhere neither," Majors said.
Majors now proudly owns an associate's degree from American Baptist College, but he's not planning any kind of career change. Next year he'll celebrate 50 years working for Metro.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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