Messiah Gaymon '19
Messiah Gaymon’s long, winding journey began in Brooklyn, where he lived with his mother and siblings, but without his absentee father. Because his mother had to work multiple jobs in order to support her family, she was unable to provide for them, and they wound up in foster care. Gaymon was five years old.
He went “switching from house to house,” he says, hoping for a fit with the right family. It didn’t happen until he was 14 years old. His savior turned out to be a man known as Apostle Ronald W. Gaymon— Messiah calls him Dad—who gave him both a stable, loving home and a spiritual education that eventually led to his becoming an associate pastor.
“I give credit to my [adoptive] dad,” says Gaymon (Science, Technology & Society, '19). “He took a broken soul and showed me what it was to be loved and what it means to exist. Something I had not experienced having the kind of family I had. He showed me how to believe in the potential that was God-given and that man could never strip away. It’s a message I have wrapped my life around and teach others today. Was it easy? No, but as my grandmother used to tell me, the best people in God were all broken.”
Now 32, and a husband and a parent, Gaymon will be graduating in May 2019 with Farmingdale having played a valuable role in his life. He will not only be one of the oldest graduates this spring, but one with arguably the most varied experiences. It was only eight years ago that Gaymon was undecided between caring for his cancer-ridden grandmother and enlisting in the Air Force.
She gave him the advice that set his life on a new road. “I had always wanted to enlist, but once I got into the church, I felt I had a responsibility to cover the people who trusted me,” he says. “Then my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and one day while taking care of her she spoke to me about responsibilities versus regrets. She told me to never let what I felt was my responsibility cause me to live a life of regret. Before she passed, she echoed those words in some of her last breaths. A year to her passing I graduated from basic training. So I knew I was in line with my destiny.” Working as a maintenance flying crew chief and then senior airman, Gaymon captured 10 medals and awards, including one for saving the lives of his crew from a potentially fatal fire. He left the service at the end of 2015 and began looking for a college that would help him make up his mind about a career.
He chose Farmingdale for its reputation as a veteran-friendly campus. Now he is considering pursuing a law degree. He also runs the College’s new American Legion Post and is president of the Student Government Association.
Gaymon joined the SGA as senator and was soon unanimously elected vice president. He immediately began transforming student government, developing a new logo to start rebranding an organization that did not get enough credit for its work. Next, he helped rewrite its constitution and by-laws. His motivation, he says, was to polish the SGA’s image.