Paxton supports fellow veterans, enjoys family

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

Ninety-two-year-old Dick Paxton served eight years in the United States Navy Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees.

He received an honorable discharge in 1946.

The World War II veteran is married to 96-year-old Gloria.

The couple met in 2005 during a line dance at the Pelham Senior Center.

Dancing is one of their favorite pastimes.

After his military career, Dick worked for the cookies and snacks manufacturer Nabisco for 30 years.

He is a charter member of the Matthew Blount America Legion Post 555 in Pelham.

He attends the meetings faithfully and through his attendance occasionally supports events. In his native Louisville, Kentucky, he was a member of American Legion Post 20l, the state’s largest for 24 years.

He was a Prayer Team member and participated in Flag Retirement ceremonies on a regular basis.

“I have slowed down a lot due to health issues and my age,” he said.

Dick is a three-time cancer survivor and has suffered two major heart attacks.

His ability to hear is diminished due to having Meniere’s disease.

Despite these issues, Dick remains mobile and enjoys being as physically active as much as possible.

Along with his spouse, Dick is a regular at the senior center, and the couple’s love of dancing has remained a focal point in their lives since they married 14 years ago.

Dick assists with the Yellow Dot campaigns from time to time. The program assists first responders with gathering information in the event of an automobile accident or medical emergency involving the participant’s vehicle when accident victims may be unable to communicate themselves.

Dick has been involved with the Community of Hope Clinic, which provides non-emergent care to indigent Shelby County residents.

When living in Kentucky, Paxton cofounded Friends of Hope, a cancer information resource organization with his first wife.

It educates those affected by cancer and holds monthly support meeting and an annual weekend retreat.

The Paxtons revel in fellowship, love and laughter of their combined family of six children, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Ballroom dances, sipping coffee in the morning on the backyard patio and helping each other in the yard fill their days with relaxation and serenity.

Dick has logged over 4,000 hours since becoming an RSVP member in 2009 and is a recipient of the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award.