PHOTO: Gordon poses for a photo with his wife Anna and sons, Zachary (left) and Morrow.

Editor’s Note: Doug Hendrix delivered the following address at Tuesday’s Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.

Special to

Our 2017 Citizen of the Year is a native of Statesville and is proud to tell others where he is from. He is a graduate of NB Mills Elementary School, D. Matt Thompson Junior High, Statesville High School, University of South Carolina, and has completed graduate classes in the Kenan Flagler MBA program at UNC Chapel Hill. By now many of you know that Barry Gordon is this year’s Citizen of the Year!

Barry was the first of the fourth generation of Gordons to enter into the family business. After graduating from USC, he worked for over 40 years first at Gordon’s Furniture and then L. Gordon Iron and Metal Company. During his years at what the family fondly calls “the yard,” he filled many positions, from weighing customer loads, working a crane, loading railcars, supervising maintenance of machinery, human resources, customer relations and management. He helped the business grow and employ over 100 individuals in Statesville. He has always led by example and by creating and maintaining close and personal friendships with family, employees and customers. According to his son Zach, “Since his retirement, when he visits the yard, guys immediately jump out of cranes to go give him a hug and handshake. That’s how much he’s missed.”

Citizen of the Year Barry Gordon (second from left) poses for a photo with Bill Brater, William Troutman and Joe Troutman.

As already stated, Barry loves his hometown, and Iredell County has directly benefited from over 50 years of his involvement. He has been an active member of the Statesville Jaycees, SCAN board, Tree Board, YMCA Board, Keep Iredell Clean/Keep America Beautiful, Crimestoppers, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. He organized a dedication ceremony for longtime high school band director, Jim Calabrese. Barry is a lifelong member of Congregation Emanuel and currently oversees maintenance and security. He is a founding board member of the Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont (Stemming from his grandfather’s passion for BGC in Boston, Mass.) and he remains on the board today. Barry also currently serves on the Iredell Arts Council Board and the Full Bloom Film Festival committee. Barry loves to volunteer serving meals at Fifth Street Shelter. He’s amazing. He greets each person with a smile and effortlessly and compassionately engages each guest in conversation.

Barry, a cancer survivor, shows no signs of slowing down even in retirement. He is always willing to lend a hand where needed. Barry has an amazing wife and soulmate Anna, and has two sons, Zachary who is married to Anna (which is confusing as all get out) and Morrow, who is married to Caity, who gave him his granddaughter Barbara named for Barry’s mother. Barry has three stepchildren, Erin, Megan, and Sam, and he is “Pop” to five grandchildren. Barry could not be more proud of Zach and Morrow, who are the fifth generation in the family business!

Barry has lived his life practicing what Zach calls Goodwill to mankind. He treats everyone the same. He gives out of the goodness of his heart, with no desire to be recognized. It’s random acts of kindness like secretly paying for lunch for a table of Statesville firemen. He loves visibly — and gives quietly to the people and organizations of Statesville. His constant positivity and inspiration in the face of adversity encourages others around him.

Barry lives a life that exudes joy … and his laugh of joy can be heard above anyone else.

Ladies and gentlemen, Our 2017 Citizen of the Year, my friend – no everybody’s friend – Barry Gordon!