Familiar face, generous heart

Published 1:02 am Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

John Gaydon’s face is a familiar one at community events featuring veterans’ organizations, especially the Alabama National Cemetery (ALNC). He has been a member of the Alabama National Cemetery Support Committee since its inception. His volunteer work includes Wreaths Across America, Memorial Day programs and the Spirit of 45.

Gaydon served 20 years in the United States Air Force. His initial intention to volunteer for duty in Viet Nam was never realized. Instead, he became a Tech Sergeant in Communications and was sent to Germany.

The middle of three children, Gaydon is a native of Bessemer. His endeavor to complete studies at the University of Montevallo was halted after the couple started their family. He enjoyed a profitable career in car sales and service at dealerships in the Birmingham area.

“I got to meet lots of people. I am very people-oriented and I like to talk,” he said.

For the last 10 years prior to his retirement, Gaydon owned and operated a small engine repair shop where he fixed lawn mowers, chainsaws, even go-carts and other small engine items. Married for the past 54 years, John and wife Sharon are the proud parents of three children, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. They met while he was stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Sharon a college student.

A member of Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge No. 1738 in Pelham, Gaydon is proud to be part of an organization which focuses on serving the community. It provides financial assistance to through grants, cash donations plus “in kind” donations of other items (food, clothing, etc.) to charities like Family Connection, Shelby County Foster Parent Association and Oak Mt. Mission. The couple filmed a National Alliance on Mental Illness video about ways to help children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Gaydon was the manager of a Lodge outreach program of eight area dialysis centers. The program provided Comfort Care Kits to new patients, approved snack bags and other charitable patient needs.

Gaydon is a member of the Church of the Highlands, Alabaster campus Dream Team which is responsible for meet and greet and make information about events available to congregants.

“I do a crossword puzzle every morning. I also enjoy helping Sharon with projects around the house such as gardening,” Gaydon said.