The Cornelius Town Commissioners celebrated Lula Bell Houston's contributions to the community, including her humility and the ability to inspire others and radiate pure love.
Houston, 87, is a town native with four children. She's also "Mama Lu" to thousands of young people who attended Davidson College during the six decades that she worked in the laundry, which has been named after her.
Houston of South Ferry Street says she was always ready with a smile, hug or kind word, whatever she thought the students needed most.
One of Houston's biggest champions is Bill Williams of Cornelius Street, who befriended Houston two years ago when he read a story about how she was facing difficulties in retirement.
"God sent Lula Bell into my life, and I'm a much better person for it," Williams told a standing-room-only crowd at the August meeting when the commissioners presented Houston with a proclamation.
Williams described her as a fireball and best friend.