Gordon Lightfoot - USMC - Tallahassee, FL
Education and Training Accomplishments:
See below Education and Training credentials for Gordon Lightfoot: (Note – In High School, played football and member of 4-H, not much extracurricular activities as usually worked after school, likewise in college, other than belonging to and helping start a SCUBA Club at Florida Technological University (UCF), working to support family was primary goal.)
- Palatka Senior High School Diploma, Palatka, Fl 1964
- Associate of Arts, Brevard Junior College, Cocoa, Fl 1970
- Bachelor of Arts in Education, Florida Technological University, currently University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fl 1972
- Master in Public Administration, Florida State University, Tallahassee 2000
Miscellaneous training and certifications:
- NAUI SCUBA certification, Hawaii, 1966
- Red Cross Life Saving Certification, Hawaii, 1966
- Water Safety Instructors Certification, Hawaii, 1966
- OSHA #500 Basic Instructor’s Certification, Orlando, 1987
- University of Missouri ADA Coordinator Certification, Tallahassee, 2013
- VFW Post Service Officer Certification, Tampa, 2017
- Jan 2001 – Oct 1997 Lightfoot & Associates, Inc. Tallahassee, Florida – President Offered consultation, technical assistance, grant writing and grants management for Federal, State and Local grant initiatives. Expertise in employment and training, workers compensation safety and health inspections and occupational safety and health training. Familiar with all titles of the JTPA (WIA), ADA and OSHA. Produced School-To-Work video, planning through script, writing, on Apprenticeship. Concurrent to this private venture completed his Master’s in Public. Administration degree (MPA), graduating in August 2000.
- Oct 1997 – Jan 1994 Associated Industries of Florida Service Corporation Tallahassee, Florida Vice President Training and Education Provided contract management and administration of private non-profit corporation. Additional duties included grant writing in areas of employment and training and safety and health training and education initiatives for Florida’s business community. Submitted grants to USDOL, OSHA, USDOE, Enterprise Florida, Florida DOE, and various other funding agents. Developed and presented Power point presentations. Executive Producer and scriptwriter for two School-To-Work videos and two companion brochures.
- Dec 1993 – Nov 1979 Florida AFL-CIO United Labor Agency Tallahassee, Florida Executive Director Held several management and supervisory positions providing grants contract governance, administration and personnel supervision resulting in appointment as Executive Director of Agency in 1985. Traveled extensively in Southeast representing Agency programs and making presentations to Labor and Governmental forums. Directed major OSHA Grant for eight years. Executive Producer of eight safety and health training videos. Successfully administered several large JTPA employment and training grants at state and local levels throughout the State of Florida.
- Nov 1979 – Jan 1977 Laborers’ International Union of NA Cocoa, Florida – Business Agent As Business Agent, negotiated for 12 public sector contracts throughout Brevard and Volusia counties. Prepared and presented legal briefs at arbitration hearings for employee grievances. Serviced collective bargaining agreements. Managed staff and administered local Union office.
- Jan 1977 – Sep 1972 Cocoa High School Cocoa, Florida – Science Teacher (Bio/Eco) Taught High School Biology and Ecology classes. Active in student activities, sponsoring Senior Class, coached Swim Team one year and taught Adult Education classes.
- Jan 1977 – Mar 1973 Village Skipper Cocoa, Florida – Owner, Operator, Instructor Built a part-time business around sailboat rentals, sales and instruction. Adjunct Instructor with Brevard Community College teaching, sailing courses, three classes/week for four years.
Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
Gordon Lightfoot’s advocacy for veterans first came from his studies of the genealogy of his family in the military. While conducting this research, he discovered that in just four generations seventeen family members served in the military with most having volunteered and served in just about every branch of the service, starting with his grandfather in World War I. He discovered that his Dad fought in the Battle of Okinawa and served as a China Marine in WWII, his Dad’s brother jumped into Normandy on D-Day with the 101st receiving a purple heart and a bronze star. Other Uncles served in WWII and Korea and Gordon served in Vietnam. His son was a Marine in the Gulf War and all four of his nephews served in various branches and one is still serving as an Officer in the Naval Reserves.
Gordon joined the Marine Corps in 1964 and after Parris Island and ITR at Camp Geiger served his first duty station at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, NC. From there Gordon volunteered for and received orders to FMFPAC Headquarters Oahu, Hawaii. He was there for almost two years working in administration, with a Top-Secret clearance under Lt. General V. H. Krulak, Commanding General FMFPAC. Gordon volunteered for Vietnam and got his orders to join the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines in Dong Ha, a post in the Quang Tri area of northern Vietnam just below the DMZ. Gordon arrived in the spring of 1967, serving a full tour of duty as an administrative chief to Echo and Golf Companies. His service involved both administrative and logistical duties as 2/3 moved throughout the Quang Tri area moving numerous times from Dong Ha to Phu Bai, to Marble Mountain just outside Danang and other bases. The 2rd Bn 3rd Marines also conducted numerous ship to shore operations off the USS Princeton and USS Tripoli considered helicopter carriers for Marine Corps operations. Gordon was responsible for ensuring company offices were set up in every location on shore and onboard ship. He managed a field office of several clerks and maintained the service record books of all Marines under the command of the companies and worked closely with the Company Commander and Platoon Leaders providing administrative support during some of the toughest battles in Vietnam, during the TET offensive and what is known as the Hill fights in the Khe Sanh area not far from Dong Ha. Gordon’s most memorable event in Vietnam occurred when one of his clerks was killed in action and he had to identify his remains.
Gordon received his Honorable Discharge in July 1968, and after leaving the Marine Corps, he used the Gl Bill to go to school. He had a long career as a teacher then administrator and grant writer, retiring from the Department of Education, State of Florida in 2013. From that moment, rather than continuing to pursue career interests, he decided to become a veteran advocate, with his first opportunity coming through Ben Bradwell, a former student of his that was and is still the County Veteran Service Officer. Ben called and asked if he would like to meet the new Tallahassee National Cemetery Director, Mr. Raymond Miller, who was temporarily relocated to Ben’s office. That meeting introduced Gordon to the world of Veteran benefits from a whole new perspective. Shortly thereafter,
Gordon became the founding Chairman of the Support Committee for the Tallahassee National Cemetery and was nominated and served four years as a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs National Cemetery Administration’s Advisory Committee for Cemeteries and Memorials. This opportunity gave Gordon an opportunity to learn about all the Veteran benefits associated with our National Cemeteries and he has been able to share that knowledge through his work as a Post Service Officer with VFW Post 3308, writing monthly articles for over 5 years in the VFW local post-Dispatch reaching over 400 veterans throughout the Big Bend area. This past year Gordon has worked closely with a couple of case managers, working directly with veterans in need. Gordon solicited funds for direct support for one disabled Marine veteran and working with his case worker found him permanent living arrangements. Gordon frequently gets calls from veterans in need and he either provides direct assistance or refers them to organizations, agencies or staff that can provide them help. From this work, Gordon with other volunteers from AMVETS Post 1776 has created a Veterans in Need Resource Guide that will be produced this year for use by all veteran service organizations. There is a need for these VSOs to have a tabletop guide so that they are all on the same page so to speak when they get the calls for help from veterans in need. Gordon gets calls from veterans in need of gas on the interstate to veterans that are stranded and homeless looking for a place to stay. Gordon also regularly contributes to his AMVETS Post 1776 cyber newsletter.
Gordon, in the first two years as Chairman of the Support Committee for the Tallahassee National Cemetery, was primary author helping put together their inaugural, First Day Interment Ceremony agenda, their first Consecration Ceremony Agenda and their first 50th Anniversary Vietnam Ceremony, their first Memorial Day Ceremony and their first Wreaths Across America Program. Numerous other programs have been and are continuing to serve veterans and their families at the Tallahassee National Cemetery.
Gordon worked with his Support Committee’s Executive Board and John Folsom and others to add a Big Bend Honor Guard, unique to most of the over one hundred and fifty National Cemeteries in the Country. The Support Committee then added a Beautification Committee with both committees in direct support and collaboration with the Director of the Tallahassee National Cemetery. Concurrent to his commitment to the Tallahassee National Cemetery and while serving as the Post Service Officer with VFW Post 3308, Gordon began working in collaboration with the Commander of AMVETS Post 1776 in 2015 reviewing their concept proposal for a Patriot Bell Tower and Carillon for the Tallahassee National Cemetery. The Bell Tower and Carillon project was completed in February 2022. A dedication ceremony was held in July of 2021 with a couple of hundred in attendance with speakers from National AMVETS attending and speaking. The Bell Tower is a beautiful addition to the Tallahassee National Cemetery and can be heard daily with the National Anthem playing at 0800 and TAPS at 1630 hours. It also plays music throughout the day on the Weekends and on other special occasions just as it was intended to do.
After leaving the local Chairmanship of the Support Committee, Gordon became the point of contact person, and in May 2019 became the Commander for AMVETS Post 1776 with full responsibility to move the Tower and Carillon Project forward. On February 12, 2021, the Patriot Tower, was erected at the Tallahassee National Cemetery. The Carillon was installed a few weeks later, and a Dedication Ceremony is planned for the near future with State and National dignitaries invited.
Gordon’s work and membership with VFW Post 3308 and as Commander of AMVETS Post 1776 has given him the opportunity to serve the veteran community here in the Tallahassee area in many ways. Gordon instituted a log in system at the VFW Post to record and refer veterans calling in with needs to himself or the Commander, so that they could effectively respond. Sometimes, just providing counseling and or referral to appropriate local agencies for help. Gordon has written over 50 articles on a variety of veteran benefits from health care issues to mental health to cemetery benefits. This past year Gordon wrote three separate Grant Proposals: one for VFW Post 3308, one for the Tallahassee Chapter 758 Military Order of the Purple Hearts, Inc. and one for American Legion Post #13. The awards totaled $50,000.00, with approval and distribution to all three VSOs. Gordon currently works with each VSO ensuring the grant monies is used to serve our veterans in the Tallahassee area.
Gordon developed a Program Agenda for a Mental Health Symposium in 2017 that received National recognition winning a $5,000.00 award for the VFW Post 3308 from the National VFW.
In more recent activity for veteran’s advocacy Gordon has become trained as a Mentor for the Tallahassee area Veteran’s Treatment Court and now has his first mentee. Gordon is also a member of the Florida Veteran’s Council and in the summer of 2020 was asked and accepted the position of Adjutant for the Arthur R. Meyer, Jr. Detachment 472 Marine Corps League, Tallahassee, Florida. From all these activities Gordon continuously answers calls from veterans in need of services. Gordon excels at networking and referring our local veterans to the most helpful agencies and qualified professionals set up to serve our veterans here in the Big Bend area.
Gordon co-authored a Memoir of a friend of his that fought in the Korean War Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, “Pot Liquor Baby to One of the Chosin Few”, published in 2011.
Gordon is married to his wife Lucia Spencer Lightfoot for over 51 years and has two children and five grandchildren. Gordon and his wife attend Chaires United Methodist Church and has been an active member there for over twenty years serving in various capacities, currently a Trustee.
Civic Activities and Contributions
- Founding Chairman of the Support Committee for the Tallahassee National Cemetery, Inc., 2015-2017
- Department of Veteran Affairs, Certificate of Appointment to the National Cemetery Administration, Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials, Washington D.C. 2016 – 2020
- Adjunct Instructor, Barry University, Tallahassee ACE 2005-2013
- Commissioner of Education appointment to Industrial Education State Instructional Materials Review Committee, 1997-1998
- Governor’s appointment to Child Care Executive Partnership Board, 1996-1998
- Invitation and attendance to Reception and White House Conference on Child Care, 1997
- Governor’s appointment to State Job Training Coordinating Council, 1994-1996
- Governor’s appointment to Human Resource Development Commission, 1995-1996
- Member Leon County Schools Adult and Community Education School Advisory Council, 1994- 1998
- Program Chairman, 7th Annual Southeastern Regional Apprenticeship Conference, 1995 Member Board of Directors, Capital Area Chapter American Red Cross, 1992-1993
- Member Annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference Planning Committees, 1989-1993 Member Board of Directors, Fl Safety and Health Institute, 1991-1993
- Member Leon County Private Industry Council, 1988-1993
- Chairman, Board of Supervisors, Ochlocknee River Soil and Water Conservation District, a public office, elected 1985 through 1990
- Sec/Treas. Florida Association of Conservation Districts, 1989 and 1990
- Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star
- Meritorious Unit Citation with one bronze star
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
- National Service Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars
- Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Citation (Gallantry Cross Color)
- Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device Sharpshooter Badge
It is worthy of note that during Gordon’s service in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, they received numerous awards and citations from the Presidential Unit Citations to Meritorious Unit Citations from Presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon commending the 3rd Marine Division for, “…successfully executing eight major combat operations, carrying the battle to the enemy, destroying many of his forces, and capturing thousands of tons of weapons and material.” These commendations were meant for all Marines serving with the 3rd and 1st Marine Divisions during this period of time.
- Nine Sapphire Awards from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation from 2006 thru 2011
- Certificates of Completion for Ethics, Procurement, Auditing and ADA and Contract Management received while working for VR during the period 2001 through 2013.
- Davis Productivity Award, Florida Board of Education – 2002
- Retirement Plaque Vocational Rehabilitation, Dept of Education, Florida 2013
- Department of Veteran Affairs, Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of exceptional service to the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials from April 2016 to August 2020.
- Marine Corps League Distinguished Service Medal – April 2021
Written by Major John Haynes, the nominator. Major Haynes is a member of the inaugural class of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2013.
It is a distinct honor for me to nominate this most honorable Veteran for the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, Gordon is a quiet, unassuming Marine Veteran who is known by his actions, rather than his words. He is hesitant to speak of his accomplishments, however, I can personally report that we have many Veterans and their families who are leading a better life as a result of his actions.
When the Tallahassee National Cemetery was first acquired by the VA, it was an overgrown 200-acre parcel of farmland. A Cemetery Support Committee was recruited consisting of approximately 30 volunteers who were responsible to the VA Cemetery Director for making a world class VA cemetery out of this very rough piece of land. This committee needed a leader, Gordon Lightfoot was the one who stepped forward to accept this awesome responsibility. I highly recommend that you take the time to drive out to see what is now one of the most beautiful and well-kept VA cemetery in America.
Mr. Lightfoot was also selected to serve for 4 years as a member of the Advisory Board for the National Cemetery Administration for Cemeteries and Memorials. This assignment required him to learn the VA Benefits Program for Veterans and their families, which are authorized by Title 38 of the United States Code. His extensive knowledge of Veterans benefits has also been utilized by him in his other volunteer assignments, service as a VFW Post 3308 Service Officer. Mr. Lightfoot also serves as an officer in the Marine Corps League, in the role of Adjutant. He is also currently the Commander of AMVETS Post 1776.
This Veteran is a tireless worker who recently completed a 5-year program helping his AMVETS Post 1776 raise almost $100,000.00 to construct, deliver, install a Patriot Bell Tower and Carillon at the Tallahassee National Cemetery. This accomplishment is covered in Section 5 of this document.
As I stated earlier, this Veteran is all action with little talk involved, a self-starter who can stand on his own two feet and render logical, sound decisions without assistance. As a member of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, Inaugural Class, I would consider it an honor to stand alongside of this esteemed Veteran as a fellow member of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. It is noted that we have very few enlisted members in our organization, please add this highly qualified and deserving Veteran to our ranks.