Mr. Cotten began as a community development specialist back in 1972, before the agency even had its current identity; when he began, Piedmont Health was known as Orange-Chatham Comprehensive Health Services. When the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was started, Cotten became Piedmont’s local coordinator – a position he held for 40 years. As WIC Coordinator, Cotten was responsible for certifying and monitoring vendors for the program.
“I’ve seen a whole lot of changes,” Willard Cotton said, summing up his 43 years working for Piedmont Health.
In October 2014, Cotton became Piedmont’s Seniors Ambassador. “That involves sharing with others about the community health centers – making the community aware of who we are, where we are and what we do,” Cotten said. Basically, his job is making sure elderly patients in the community get the proper health care that is needed.
Asked to discuss the changes he has seen, Cotten said: “The biggest change has been from paper to electronics. But I have to learned to transition to this new way of doing business.”
Cotten said he continues to enjoy the work because the rewards that he gets from it has been constant: “My whole life has been about caring about people, and as long as I can reach out and help somebody, it makes my heart feel good.”
Married for 49 years, Cotten is the father of two and grandfather of one. Asked if he is ready to retire, the 73-year-old said: “I’m going to keep on going as long as I can help people.”