NORRIDGEWOCK — Seventy-two-year-old Richard Gordon is a tough ex-Marine and a man of few words.

So when he first was told that he had been named statewide Marine of the Year by the Maine Marine Corps League, Gordon, now a school bus driver, accepted the award quietly and continued his work as adjunct paymaster for his local detachment, called Maine Leathernecks.

“This award was a surprise to me because I don’t do things to be rewarded,” Gordon said. “This award that I received would not be possible without the help and support of my fellow Marines. I just do the best I can when I am asked, because I want us to have success.”

Bob McGlaskson, the detachment’s chaplain, said the organization is involved with helping with disability claims and other needs of active-duty Marines and honorably discharged veterans.

“Richard has gone above and beyond, as far as keeping things organized at the state level and the detachment level,” McGlaskson said. “He has donated a lot of his free time. When he’s not driving bus, he puts together a newsletter for the Marine Corps League and has been drawing up posters to encourage Marine veterans to join the Marine Corps League. He’s just done an outstanding job; he really has.”

Gordon’s duties as pay master are the equivalent of the secretary and treasurer of a civilian organization. Gordon also has been judge advocate for the statewide organization.

Gordon, who drives a school bus for Skowhegan Area High School, served with a Marine Corps artillery battalion from 1957 to 1961 and was in the reserves until 1963. He went to Beirut, Lebanon, and later was stationed on Hawaii and Guam.

Gordon and about 30 other former Marines comprise the Maine Leathernecks, a detachment of the national Marine Corps League. Headquartered at the VFW post in Madison, the detachment, established in 2010, has members from Kennebec, Franklin and Somerset counties.

“It’s a great surprise, but it’s a great honor,” Gordon said of his award. “It puts me into an elite groups of Marines who love what they do and love the organization they belong to.”

His wife, Janet, is an associate member of the detachment. They have three grown children and 10 grandchildren.

There are 16 detachments in the state. The Marine Corps League was established in 1923.

McGlaskson said one former or active-duty Marine is chosen from statewide nominations for Marine of the Year every year in Maine.

The league’s mission is preserve the traditions and to promote interest in the Marine Corps and “to band active-duty and honorably discharged veterans together in fellowship to promote ideas of American freedom and democracy,” McGlaskson said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

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