WILMINGTON -- When people retire they typically look forward to relaxing and enjoying life without too much work. A New Hanover County man who retired more than ten years ago has been doing anything but relaxing. He's now receiving statewide recognition for his volunteer work. Medallion of honor recipient Leon West said, "It's always a joy to me to see people that are happy." West is New Hanover County's Volunteer of the Year and one of 20 statewide winners of a medallion of honor. West said, "It's an honor to be selected and there's a lot of people that do a lot of work in our organization, and others that certainly would need to be recognized, but it's an honor for me." West helped start the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, or WARM, ten years ago to help rebuild substandard homes for people who need the assistance. WARM vice chairman Ron Simcoe said, "Somehow Leon has been below the radar for ten years." Other members of WARM say they're not surprised by the recognition West is finally getting. Simcoe said, "He's been doing the same thing for the longest time and no one could be more deserving than Leon." West is WARM's project coordinator and has reviewed applications for at least 500 homes in his decade with the organization. He has personally helped rebuild at least 300. West said, "People are proud of their homes, no matter how bad it may look to anybody else, people are proud of their home and they want it to look nice, they want it to be comfortable, and so when we see this, when we can go into a home and improve that for them, that is the satisfaction we get from that." Simcoe said, "The warmth of this man is just so wonderful." West will travel to the Greensboro area to receive his medallion of honor in January.
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