Being able to understand and positively affect legislative issues that impact older adults, especially those who need assistance, it’s just extremely gratifying.
-James A. Wall Sr.
James Wall’s journey started in rural Wadesboro, North Carolina. He grew up on a share crop farm, working the fields and turning over 50 percent of the harvest to the landowner, and these humble beginnings laid a life foundation built on hard work and responsibility. From a two-room schoolhouse, James went on to college before ultimately deciding to join the United States Air Force.
After his service, James took a job as a security guard at Duke University, while pursuing his undergraduate degree at North Carolina Central University. He would work through the night, and return to his studies during the day. After receiving his undergraduate degree, James took a position as Psychiatric Service Administrator at Duke Medical Center. After a two-year stint as Administrator, James entered Duke University Graduate School and later received a Master’s in Health Administration.
His career path then took him to a number of prominent positions including CEO at L. Richardson Memorial Hospital and Whittaker Memorial Hospital as well as executive level positions at Richland Memorial Hospital, University of Maryland Medical System, New Jersey Medical School/University Hospital Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Following retirement, James became the AARP North Carolina Volunteer State President, lending his time and expertise to help cover the uninsured, keep electric utility and auto insurance rates affordable, preserve important state funding for services that help people age in their own homes and to tackle adult hunger.
“It’s very gratifying to know that you may have played a small role in influencing a program not getting cut and in some cases even improved,” said James. “Being able to understand and positively affect legislative issues that impact older adults, especially those who need assistance, it’s just extremely gratifying.”
This spring James was honored with AARP’s Andrus Award for Community Service for his work to improve the health and financial security of North Carolinians. The Andrus Award is the association's most prestigious volunteer tribute, recognizing outstanding individuals who are sharing their experience, talents and skills to enrich the lives of others.
James is also very active in his church, lending his decades of experience and knowledge to worshippers with healthcare questions or concerns. James and his spouse Lana reside in Oxford, North Carolina and are parents of two adult sons. He is an avid golfer and enjoys playing with friends when he can take time away from his volunteer work and community activities. Lana will join him on the cruise!