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October 12, 2012

Local resident helps those hurt by economy

Good Neighbor nominee Linda Gordon tries to help every way she can.

LOGANSPORT — Linda Gordon, secretary of the Logansport Board of Zoning Appeals, has felt the need to help people in the community since she was in her twenties.

Gordon was nominated as a Good Neighbor for her involvement in several volunteer programs and her recent help to families that have been hurt by the economy.

“So many people don’t step up to the plate and help others when they are capable to do so,” Gordon said. “I help because it’s the right thing to do.”

Gordon has spent time volunteering at the Emmaus Mission Center and has been a volunteer at the Dentzel Carousel for five years. She’s also been a helper at the annual speech meet for the Logansport High School speech club for six years.

She’s involved in other children’s activities, too. Gordon helps prepare food for band members at Logansport home football games and was on the Pulaski County fair board for 30 years, where she was president for five years. With six children, Gordon said she helped out as much as she could with local school programs while they were in school.

In recent years, Gordon has felt a need to help with The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Every year, Christmas tags are put on a tree with the age and sex of a child and what that child wants for Christmas.

The tags are for children who otherwise wouldn’t have any gifts to open on Christmas.

In 2010, Gordon remembers her daughter, Honey Copeland, telling her that hundreds of tags were left on the Christmas tree, which meant children would be waking up without a gift on Christmas.

“I was going to go get two tags and I ended up bringing home 17,” Gordon said. “In every basket we made sure that the child got what they asked for and we included a tie blanket, hat, gloves, sweatshirt, an outfit, and either a toy or CD depending on the age.”

Copeland said that she remembers years ago, when she was 12 years old, that her mother would give Christmas gifts to people in need.

“I’ve never seen kids get so excited over Christmas,” Copeland said. “When we were kids my mom would have us help and carry groceries to people’s houses and ring the bell and leave it on their doorstep.”

Gordon’s husband, Terry, is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service inspector at Tyson’s Fresh Meats in Logansport and works with 23 other government inspectors who joined Gordon in her gift-giving efforts.

In 2011, following Gordon’s lead, inspectors at Tyson’s collected 50 Angel Tree tags and split them so that children would get gifts on Christmas. With Gordon’s help, USDA/FSIS had two successful yard sales of items that were collected from the inspectors. With over $400 from the yard sales, Gordon bought groceries and gave them to the food pantry in Logansport that needed food the most.

The inspectors also held bake sales and made dinners to earn money that could go toward families in need for the Feds Feed Families program, Gordon said.

The programs ask government employees to collect food for pantries and people in need. Gordon and the inspectors have worked together to make this happen in Logansport and plan to continue.

“We live in a world where helping is the right thing to do,” Gordon said. “I’ve always felt the need to give where I can.”

Gordon is the previous owner of Gordon’s grocery store and Pizza King in Walton.

She also hosts a free haunted yard for children during the month of October. Gordon said that she puts child volunteers to work and hosts a haunted yard in Logansport for the nights that the community is trick-or-treating. Hosting a haunted yard is a fun event that lets her give back to the community, Gordon said.

Gordon started helping the community at her home, but with the help of USDA/FSIS she is taking it to the public. Gordon was able to make phone calls to different food pantries while the inspectors were working to see where the food would do the best and who needed it the most.

“It’s important that people know that I’m just a tool in a wheel,” Gordon said. “If it hadn’t been for the generosity of the 23 inspectors it wouldn’t have ever happened.”

Sue Riley, one of the inspectors that Gordon has been working with, nominated Gordon for recognition as a Good Neighbor this year.

“If everyone had just a piece of her heart, Logansport would be a much better place,” Riley said. “She is a very good friend and she helps whoever she can.”

Amie Sites is a reporter for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or amie.sites@pharostribune.com.

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