Gloria Thomas: Three Generations In Greenshade
Gloria Thomas is a lifelong member of Greenshade, a small agricultural community located northwest of Havana. Gloria is a third-generation resident of Greenshade, with both her grandparents and parents growing up in the community.
For Gloria, growing up in Greenshade meant a childhood spent playing games. She best remembers playing checkers and hopscotch with the other children in her community. Her favorite game to play was marbles, and she quickly gained a reputation as the best marble shooter in her community, something that she still feels proud of today. While there was ample time for play as a child, the youth of Greenshade were also strongly encouraged to attend the local church.
The Greenshade AME Church was considered the central gathering place for the community and also served as an elementary school. Gloria fondly recalls church services on Sundays and her family’s “weekly reunion” that took place after. Extended relatives would fill up her mother’s house and help to cook Sunday dinner. Everyone would spend the evening eating and enjoying the company.
Though her extended family was large, Gloria’s immediate family was fairly small. The eldest of two children, Gloria had a strong relationship with her sister, who moved away from Florida after getting married at 18. As the only child left in the family home, Gloria was forced to reevaluate her priorities as her mother became ill and gave up her dream of becoming a nurse to serve as her mother’s full-time caregiver. to become her mother’s full-time caregiver.
“Not everything that shines like gold, is gold.”Gloria Thomas
Gloria believes that growing up in Greenshade led her to understand the importance of family and caring for others. Eventually, Gloria was able to secure a position at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee as a housekeeper. Climbing the ranks over the 25 years that she was employed by the hospital, she came to work in the hospital’s administration department. She believes that the hospital’s leadership rewarded her with this job after seeing how caring and determined she was, something Gloria attributes to those years spent caring for her mother.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Gadsden County, Gloria used her time in quarantine to complete courses for a medical aid certificate through the Florida State Hospital. She is looking forward to using her skills to aid in recovery efforts as the pandemic slowly wanes.
Though now retired from her position at the Florida State Hospital, Gloria continues to use her skills to care for her community. She currently volunteers with the Dogtown Volunteer Fire Department, something she undertook after her nephew passed away in a house fire five years ago. She is passionate about doing all she can to help her community, something she hopes she can share with the future generations of Greenshade.