Army veteran celebrates 100th birthday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Paul

An army veteran Gordon Kirk was described as the “pillar” of the community for serving people in need despite his old age. Image: israel palacio|Unsplash

Gordon Kirk, an army veteran from Helena, Montana, has served the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Paul for years. Recently, Kirk celebrated his 100th birthday with his family and friends at the church. 

According to a report, Kirk has been helping others ever since his retirement. 

Recognizing His Service for the Country

About two dozen churchgoers, including the centenarian's family, gathered in the church basement following the 10 a.m. service last week to commemorate his 100th birthday. 

Last week, proclamations were issued by the city of St. Paul's mayor, Melvin Carter, and the state's governor, Tim Walz, in honor of the World War II veteran.

According to MSN, Kirk dedicated most of his life to serving others.

Paula Mitchell, a fellow member of Holy Trinity, called Kirk a "pillar" of the St. Paul community. Mitchell praised Kirk that despite his age, he could still help others. 

On March 23, 1923, Kirk was born and raised in Helena, Montana. As he was just starting fifth grade, his family relocated to Seattle so his father could advance in his job with the Northern Pacific Railway. Amid the Great Depression, when Kirk was 10 years old, his family eventually made their home in St. Paul. 

Upon finishing his studies at Marshall High School in 1942, Kirk immediately volunteered in the United States Army. He and other Black recruits were boarding a train in Kansas City on their way to Texas for basic training when confronted with the outright prejudice of the segregated south for the first time.

Upon leaving the Army, Kirk worked as a streetcar driver for Twin City Rapid Transit for 10 years. He spent the next 30 years as a skycap for Braniff and later Northwest. 

Kirk, a lifelong Vikings season ticket holder, was able to save money on flights and make new acquaintances with fellow frequent fliers like Bud Grant and Ahmad Rashad.

Helping Those in Need

Kirk was always willing to lend a hand to people in need.

He and his late wife, Gwen, established a group that provided playground equipment to public spaces in St. Paul in the 1960s. 

He retired from Northwest Airlines in the 1990s and began working part-time for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. There, he assisted fellow veterans in understanding and utilizing the VA healthcare system.

In 1995, he made history by becoming the organization's first Black chapter commander in Minnesota.

Making Time for Church

Per the report, Kirk has consistently dedicated his time to Holy Trinity, volunteering as an usher for the congregation. 

His fellow congregants are quick to praise his generous nature. He has always been a supportive role model for younger church members.

On occasion, he and his wife have even taken troubled teens into their houses to assist them in finding a new path in life.

About Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

St. Philip and St. Thomas Episcopal Churches, two historically African American Episcopal churches in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, have merged to form Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church's mission is to demonstrate the unity of the Triune God by promoting relationships characterized by mutual acceptance, respect, and cooperation.

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