Written & Photographed by Cesca Janece Waterfield
Linwood Alford spoke at a luncheon last week for the Richmond/Henrico Retired Teacher’s Association. Ignoring the podium, he strolled among tables, punctuating his points with sure gestures; a dynamic speaker whose humor didn’t dilute the urgency of the day’s message: HIV Prevention among seniors.
The Richmond native is founder and Executive Director of Open Door Resource Center, (ODRC). ODRC offers prevention education, provides case management to people recently diagnosed, offers counseling and psychological day treatment, facilitates legal support, and houses a resource center to help clients learn how to live with the disease.
Recent statistics reveal a growing number of HIV/AIDS cases among senior citizens and African American women, especially in the South.
Alford’s background reflects a commitment to service and knack for getting things done. After seven years in the Army, he taught college computer science courses before accepting a counseling position with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
“While I was in Atlanta and I was dealing with veterans, a lot of veterans came into my office and were HIV positive,” he remembers. In 2004, he received a Presidential appointment to the position of Minority Coordinator for the state of Georgia. As Coordinator, he was a liaison between Washington D.C. and individual veterans to resolve claims, some of which had been languishing for up to fifteen years…