Friends and co-workers gathered to share in a bittersweet day in honor of Elisha Gipson. Gipson was celebrated for his 40 years of service at Lois M. Deberry Special Needs Facility, 7575 Cockrill Bend Blvd. The media, Tennessee State Sen. Thelma Harper, and others gathered for a retirement celebration in his honor.
It was evident that the day was a happy occasion to hold retirement festivities for a dedicated servant of the institution. However, many tears of sadness were shed to know that Gipson will no longer walks the halls of this facility each day.
“He’s so humble, kind and meek. He is the fruit of the spirit,” said Joyce Walker, retirement Mistress of Ceremonies.
“It is a joy to share in this occasion because so many times people are not recognized for what they do and it is very well deserved,” said Sen. Harper.
Elisha Gipson came to Nashville over two decades ago from Holly Springs, Mississippi to become a student at Tennessee State University. His entire family attended Rust United Methodist College (in Holly Springs) and he wanted to do something different. He decided he would attend TSU for two years and move on to something else. He had plans to work at a company like the Ford glass plant or DuPont, etc. where he would receive “good pay.”
However, upon his arrival in Nashville he was encouraged to complete a job application at ‘Deberry Special Needs Facility.’ As life would have it, a variety of things would happen that allowed him to obtain this job.
He decided to work there for about six months and then move on.
Along his 40-year journey, Gipson met many people who were instrumental in different areas of his life.
“Captain Lawrence Martin shared stories and mentored me and others to follow in the right way,” Gipson said.
“That’s why we’re still here after 40 and 50 years,” said Deputy Warden Charles Simmons.
This was evident as the co-workers came through to bid Elisha Gipson a great farewell on his retirement. They spoke with a sincere spirit that seemed to resonate throughout the staff’s relationships with one another.
“Religion comes first and that’s why we are special because of what we do and that makes us good at what we do,” said Simmons.
Elisha Gipson is retiring from Deberry Special Needs because: “I always want to leave a job on my own terms,” he said. “I have met a lot of people and hoped that I have influenced a lot of people not to return to prison life because it is my calling to help people.”
According to Elisha’s cake (and his confirmation), he will be enjoying his retirement by fishing as well as, spending more time with his family.
See the retirement celebration pictures by clicking here