James P. Gardon

James P. Gardon

Class of 1972

Sport(s): Football | Track

Year Inducted: 2014

In the summer of 1968 Jim Gardon was 13 years old and about to begin his freshman year at Bennett H.S. He had a burning desire to go out for the football team, but coaches Berkman and Mogavero felt he was too young. Undaunted and willing to contribute to the Tiger team in any way, Jim agreed to become the manager for the would be Harvard Cup Champions. Even back then, he begin to administer to minor injuries, which would actually become a precursor to his future profession.

Two short years later, as a junior, Jim was a two way starter on both the offensive and defensive lines. He remembers that once in a while, to his dismay, the coaches would take him out on the kicking teams to give him a breather. His tenacity was rewarded with All-High recognition in both the Buffalo Evening News and the Courier Express that year. Again in his senior year, despite playing on an injured ankle, Jim received 2nd team All-High recognition.

Jim competed on the track team all four years of his high school career as a shot putter. As a freshman he benefitted from practicing with the likes of Bennett icons Joe Alexander and George Shegog. Again, he matured quickly as an athlete and by his junior year he was placing first in a majority of the meets. He placed 2nd in the All High meet by a matter of 3 inches. In his senior year, Jim took first place in all meets, and lost to his teammate and friend Kosta Kobakof at the All High meet, finishing in 2 nd place again.

As a professional, Jim has enjoyed a long career as a Physical Therapist. His last full time position was at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle, where he was Director of Rehabilitation of the Transitional Care Unit. At various times, he has served on the clinical faculty at the University at Buffalo, Daemen College, D’Youville College, Niagara County Community College and Genesee Community College. Jim was the first male President of the Daemen College Alumni Board of Directors. He has been a Marilla Kiwanian for twenty-three years and is a past member of the Alden Chamber of Commerce. Jim also coached football at Amherst Central High School.

When relaxing, Jim enjoys shooting at the Polaris Shooting Club, where he has been an officer for thirty years. On the softer side, Jim is an accomplished photographer, bonsai tree grower, and wood carver. He had a first place wood carving at the Erie county Fair in 2012.

Jim feels “fortunate to have a chosen profession that affords me the opportunity to assist others who have a physical impairment in attaining their maximum level of
physical independence”.