Hometown Hero: Willie DeLoach

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:04 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Willie DeLoach doesn’t just take care of everything participants need at the Savannah Adult Daycare Program. He’s the reason most of them are there.

“There are a lot of words you could use, but I’m just going to say a kind gentleman,” Ronnie Mungin said.

‘Coach DeLoach’ as he is known transports seniors to the Moses Jackson Community Center five days a week.

“You want me to grab this strong arm. He’s so strong, oh my God.”

But he is more friend than driver to dozens of people who attend the City of Savannah senior program every day.

“He comes in with a smile on his face every day. He is warm and giving toward our participants. He really shows up and gives his all every day,” Deidre Light said.

DeLoach has worked for the city’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Services for nearly 30 years. He was transferred to help the Senior Daycare Program during the pandemic.

“We were initially driving meals to the people who are participants in the program. And after they were allowed to come back into the building, I requested that I remain with the program,” Deloach said.

Soon, he was central to the program getting seniors to and from, serving them breakfast and leading daily calisthenics.

“He has a ton of energy, more than I do. He is full of joy and he brings that exercise component that was lacking before.

DeLoach actually is a coach, having spent time at Savannah States and with several local high schools and middle schools.

And he actually is a senior himself with his 72nd birthday approaching net month.

But it’s his background as a teacher for more than 20 years that has been such a unique addition to the senior program.

“He also brought some of his cognitive games where he’s really looking to stimulate people’s minds.

“We interact all day and essentially have fun, The thing we’re trying to do here is make sure they stimulate their brains, keep them active and involved in something so they can maintain an attitude about life. I’ve seen some senior citizens who don’t have an activity to go to and it causes them to deteriorate a little earlier.”

Participants in the senior program don’t only have a coach to keep them engaged - they have a friend in this WTOC Hometown Hero making their days fun, interesting and productive.

“You get to know him, you begin to like him because he’s that type of person.”

“Coach Willie DeLoach is one of the most genuine people you will meet, he is a staple in our community and in our program.”

“I like what I do. Some guy said if you like what you’re doing, it’s not work anymore, it’s fun.”