Lifelong Spartanburg resident Norma Pitts attributes part of her strong upbringing to the Spartanburg Housing Authority.

Pitts, a mother of 10 children, has lived at Housing Authority properties including Tobe Hartwell, Phyllis Goins and JC Bull.

“Growing up in Spartanburg was beautiful … Living in a Housing Authority (property) has been wonderful,” she said. “The Housing Authority has offered me a lot because they have leadership that taught me how to be a leader and how to speak to people with love. I love Spartanburg Housing Authority.”

Pitts was one of several public housing residents who were honored Wednesday afternoon at a luncheon hosted by the Housing Authority. The event, “Spoken Words,” was a celebration for octogenarians — people between 80 and 89 years old — who live in agency housing.

Residents were treated to a catered lunch with carved turkey and all the fixings, choral music from students at Cleveland Leadership Academy and a dance performance by AVK Dance Studio.

During lunch, several residents reminisced about growing up in Spartanburg and shared their gratitude for the Housing Authority.

One Spartanburg native, Walker Lee, said he moved into Archibald Rutledge 19 years ago.

“I’ve been an officer there and I’ve been president, vice president, chaplain, secretary and treasurer,” he said. “I love where I live.”

Spartanburg City Council Member Erica Brown helped plate lunches at the event and said it was a privilege to be in the presence of the senior adults. Oftentimes people forget what seniors have done to bring the community to where it is today, she said.

“From those who came before me I’ve learned about fighting for what’s right, about having a voice, about stepping up as a young person and being involved,” Brown said. “That’s very, very important for me.”

Terril Bates, executive director of the Housing Authority, said the agency came about as a result of support from many of the senior adults at the luncheon.

“It’s your generation that made possible the things that have advanced us in education and in our participation in the community,” Bates told the senior residents. “So many things that we live and experience today in Spartanburg are because of the work that you did, because of the battles that you fought, because of the teachings that you taught and because of the understandings that you had.”