Little Flower employees are well known for their longevity, but even so, 31 years is a long time to work in one place. Anthony Gibson, the mailroom and supply clerk for Little Flower’s Brooklyn offices literally grew up with Little Flower, starting his career off as an elevator operator and then messenger when we were located on Remsen Street in 1985. Little Flower was not Anthony’s first introduction to foster care – he grew up in the system aging out of Graham Windham at 21. His social worker – the best one he ever had – was changing jobs and going to work at Little Flower and she helped him secure the position and he has been here ever since.
As much as Anthony loves Little Flower, this wasn’t the only place he has ever worked. He held part time positions as security at Madison Square Garden, a clerk at Store24 (which no longer exists) and was part of the baggage crew for American Airlines.
Anthony has had his share of obstacles along the way. Aside from being placed into foster care at the age of three, Anthony was born with cerebral palsy. He preserved and was determined to make his way in the world. His determination to making it to work every day was tested 11 years ago when he had to undergo a 25-hour brain surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma tumor. He was under strict orders from his supervisor to take as much time as he needed to recover, even though he’d rather be working instead. He was excited to get back to the office, albeit the partial vision loss in his right eye and loss of hearing in his right ear due to the surgery, which made the transition a little more difficult. For those who work with Anthony every day, you’d never know he is dealing with these struggles because of his easygoing and hardworking nature.
Anthony feels privileged to work at Little Flower. He sees it as his way of giving back to the same system that took care of him as a child. He loves working here as he is exposed to and learns new things every day and his coworkers are always willing to lend a hand when needed or help him enhance his computer skills. He cherishes the opportunity to lead his group of Summer Youth Employment employees – Anthony is truly a hands-on supervisor and trainer and all of us in Brooklyn can see the pride he has in his task.
Anthony has a lot of great memories from Little Flower but one of his most memorable moments was the speech given by former Executive Director Grace G. Lo Grande at last year’s Founder’s Day – he can’t recall the exact words but he still gets the same feeling whenever he thinks of the moment
Anthony’s plans for the future include finishing his career here at Little Flower and retiring to Portland (the city of his favorite basketball team, the Portland Trail Blazers). His advice to new employees is that your role here is “to do good and give back”.