When he isn’t at work, sometimes Bruce Williams takes the 90-minute drive down to the very tip of Biscayne Bay. He’s originally from upstate New York before moving to Houston as an adult. Nature, he said, is very relaxing to him.
“You’re divorced enough from the city that you can totally escape,” he said. “My favorite is at the very tip where there is a park and you can see Miami and look back across the water. It’s very remote.”
The short escapes may actually be helpful to his work. Williams, Senior Services Coordinator for The Pride Center in Wilton Manors, has completely revolutionized services for LGBT seniors. The Center’s COO Kristofer Fegenbush said Williams is a vital part of programs for the senior community.
“Attendance at senior programs has skyrocketed as Bruce and his team of volunteers here at the Center have addressed real needs regarding healthcare, financial planning, housing, loneliness, social connections and other age-related issues,” he said. “Without his leadership, our senior services programs would not exist like they do now.”
The hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed outside of The Pride Center, either. Mary Ann Watson, a registered nurse and a VITAS Healthcare community educator liaison, nominated Williams for a Lifetime Achievement Award for Impact Broward. While Impact Broward has been recognizing community leaders for years, this is their first Lifetime Achievement Award. Watson has known Williams for a couple years and admires his passion.
“I am so in awe of the way he makes the Center rule for the seniors,” she said. “There’s not one person at The Pride Center that doesn’t know Bruce by hug or voice. He definitely puts everything he has into his role there.”
She notes his humbleness. He’s easy to talk to. He’s a “gentle soul.” He’s completely invested in the betterment of LGBT seniors, and it isn’t something new. Williams has always been involved.
“Seniors have always been his passion. It was unfortunate that he lost his job because of discrimination. He rebuilt his empire at The Pride Center,” she said. “Anything that goes on down there with the seniors, he has something to do with it.”
Peter Kaldes, President and CEO of Impact Broward, is excited about honoring Williams on Oct. 7 with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Bruce is a tremendous inspiration, which is why we had to create a Lifetime Achievement Award — the first one ever awarded by Impact Broward. Bruce is our first recipient!” he said. “As a gay man, I’m particularly thrilled because it’s thanks to people like Bruce, with their dedication to the LGBT senior community, who are destroying barriers I hope to never encounter.”