Missouri's Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder presented Taylor the award for her volunteer work at the Slater Senior Center in front of family, friends and other volunteers at the center.
Taylor, 77, was initially nominated for the honor by senior center Coordinator Lucy Brandon. The award is given to one senior in each of 10 statewide districts four times a year.
Brandon filled out the paperwork last February and had almost "forgotten" about it when Kinder's office called her about a month ago. In fact, she had never told Taylor about the nomination.
"Her daughter knew, but I swore her to secrecy," Brandon said.
Brandon nominated Taylor because of her willingness to always pitch in at the center doing any job, including dipping up food and drinks, delivering meals and opening and closing the building.
"I've got lots and lots of great volunteers," noted Brandon, "but I always call Wanda first when I need someone."
According to Brandon, Taylor drops "everything" when called and comes right in. Even having a stroke about two years ago didn't keep her down long.
"As soon as she was able to do, she was right back," said Brandon.
During the ceremony, Slater Mayor Stephen Allegri spoke about Taylor.
"We certainly appreciate her and we're proud to have her as part of our community," he said, before introducing Kinder
"It's not very often Slater gets celebrities here," Allegri said. "It also shows how important the award is that the lieutenant governor, the number two man in the state, would take time out of his busy schedule to come down here and present this award."
Kinder explained one of his duties was serving as the "official advocate for our senior population of Missouri." Since beginning the award in 2005, he said approximately 150 seniors statewide have received the award for serving their communities.
Before the presentation, Kinder talked about funding for the state's senior centers and the meals program.
State Sen. Bill Stouffer's wife, Sue Ellen, and staff member, Aaron Baker, were on hand at the ceremony. Kinder explained Stouffer was at an event at Whiteman Airforce Base.
In presenting the award, Kinder said, "Mrs. Taylor, Lucy Brandon told me about your selflessness and nominated you for this award. I thank her for bringing your spirit to my attention and I thank you for your undying devotion to the Slater community."
He presented Taylor with a plaque and declaration signed by him. He also presented her with a gold pin and an invitation to attend a luncheon next May at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, with the rest of the year's 40 honorees.
Taylor thanked everyone for coming to the ceremony, noting, "As you say, this place is run on volunteers."
In an interview, Taylor said she began volunteering at the center four years ago and can help with everything "except the computer."
She also takes an exercise class there, taught by volunteer Karen Venable, two days a week.
Taylor, who has three children, four grandchildren, one step-grandchild, six great-grandchildren and three step- great-grandchildren, said her church, First Baptist of Slater and pastor Robert Sisney, also recognized her for the award on Sunday, Oct. 12.
However, her daughter, Denise Cantlin, said her mother wasn't much for the "limelight."
Taylor agreed, "I like it better on the back burner."
Although modest about the award and the work she has done, Taylor did acknowledge one thing.
"I guess I've helped get Slater and the center on the map. At least they know we're here now."