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Surprise honor for Lawrenceville mayor

Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson speaks to reporters Monday, after the Gwinnett Veterans Museum unveiled a satellite display at City Hall. The display includes a photo of Johnson’s father in his World War II uniform.

Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson speaks to reporters Monday, after the Gwinnett Veterans Museum unveiled a satellite display at City Hall. The display includes a photo of Johnson’s father in his World War II uniform.

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The new satellite display of the Gwinnett Veterans Museum at Lawrenceville City Hall contains a photo of Rhodes Jordan, the former mayor, in his World War II Navy uniform, as well as a life-size replica of the uniform.

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Volunteers from the Gwinnett Veterans Museum honored Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson in their new satellite display in appreciation of her dedication to veterans.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan-Johnson was proud to know that Lawrenceville City Hall would be the new site for a satellite display of the Gwinnett Veterans Museum. But she didn’t know the display would bring her to tears.

Jordan Johnson broke down and cried Monday, after volunteers unveiled the display, with a photo of her father next to a replica of the World War II uniform he wore in the photograph.

“I’m really grateful,” she said of the tribute to Rhodes Jordan, who had served as mayor of the Gwinnett County seat himself for more than a decade.

But Jordan Johnson was quick to explain that she wanted the museum display to act as a tribute to all veterans.

“This is not just about my dad,” she said through tears. “It’s about all the veterans who have come before us and who will serve in the future … because without those men and women, we could not do this.”

Paul Pickard, the director of the museum, which is mostly housed at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, said the volunteer organization wanted to honor Johnson and her father for all the ways the mayor has worked to honor veterans during her time in office.

So, below the Civil War sword and above the Air Force flight helmet and replica of the U.S.S. Atlanta, the display includes a photo of Jordan in uniform with a full-size replica beside it.

“We really want you to know how much we appreciate you,” Pickard said to Johnson.

The mayor said she never knew that veterans’ questions about her father’s medals and service were aimed at creating the display. She has begun researching and sent a letter to the personnel office to try to learn some of the information.

While the same photo sits on her desk in her office and Jordan’s portrait is among the wall of mayors in City Hall’s reception area, Johnson said she is hoping to show the display to her father’s sisters as well as her own brother and sister.

“I will be very humbled every day I walk into City Hall and see this,” she said. “For all the veterans have done, including my dad, I’m truly grateful, and (am) very grateful for this display.”