Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson receives an honorary plaque in honor of her father Rhodes Jordan from Director of the Gwinnett County Veterans Memorial Museum Paul Pickard, right, at the Gwinnett Council for Seniors Information Center in downtown Lawrenceville on Wednesday. Rhodes Jordan a former Mayor of Lawrenceville was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1942.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- The mayor thought she was just dropping off a picture for the veterans museum, then going about her business for the day. But she was in for a little surprise.
At least a dozen officials with the Gwinnett County Veterans Memorial Museum greeted her Wednesday morning, formally thanking Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson for donating a photo of father Rhodes Jordan, clad in military garb.
It all started with a phone call from the museum's director, Johnson said.
"Paul (Pickard) asked me if I had a picture of my father who served in World War II," said Johnson following Wednesday morning's event. "I said I did, and he asked if I would bring it downtown. It was a big surprise."
Pickard presented Johnson with a plaque for the photo and her continued support of the museum.
"When they gave it to me, tears came to my eyes," she said. "These veterans have made such sacrifices. I've tried to be supportive of the activities they have, especially promoting the museum, because it's a true picture of what these men and women sacrificed so that we could even be here today and live in this free country."
Pickard said the museum volunteers aim to recognize war veterans. "It's very important for us," he said. "It's what the museum is all about. You've got to keep the memories alive. You've got to let people know what these veterans did to give us the opportunity to do what we're doing today."
He said that in its eighth year, the museum is approaching its 25,000th visitor.
A picture of Rhodes Jordan, clad in U.S. Navy attire, will hang on the museum walls. Jordan was drafted into the Navy in January 1942.
A signalman for vessels serving in the South Pacific, he worked his way up to petty officer, second class, by the time he was discharged in December 1945.
He also served eight terms as mayor of Lawrenceville.
The Gwinnett County Veterans Memorial Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is located at 185 Crogan St., Room 118, Lawrenceville.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770 985-0901 or 770 921-1326.