Anyone pondering the secret of a long life would do well to ask 100-year-old Benjamin Jackson “BJ” Holland, a Suffolk resident honored by Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia Thursday.
“I was brought up in a Christian home, and I was taught to obey the Bible. And I read the Bible every day,” Holland said, moments after receiving the inaugural, discretionary Inspiration Award during SSSV’s 40th annual general meeting Thursday.
A surviving twin and one of seven children, Holland reached 100 years of age on June 5, 2012, celebrating the occasion with family and friends at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Community Center in Franklin.
The sprightly senior never misses a day visiting the center, where he likes to converse with friends and build on his dominos skills.
“One of the first things he does when he comes to the center, he pulls out his Bible, and he says a little scripture,” city of Franklin Director of Parks and Recreation Frank Davis said, before Holland received the award at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Virginia Beach.
“After that, he’s known to play a mean game of dominos.”
Holland attended the annual general meeting with a group of family members, including niece Shirley Holland Bailey.
“He’s such a good man; I can say that first,” Bailey said when asked to comment on her uncle.
“I lost my auntie, so if he didn’t go to the community center, that would put him by himself. It gets him out of the house and keeps his mind active.”
Holland was a farmer most of his life, growing peanuts, cotton and corn, as well as raising livestock.
Director of Development and Community Relations