Leadership Spotlight: Gordon Palmer

Gordon Palmer currently serves as the president of the Board of Directors for SportsAbility Alliance (formerly Florida Disabled Outdoors Association). Since FDOA was founded in 1990, Gordon has been involved as a participant, volunteer, and board member. His first exposure to the organization was through the SportsAbility Expo, and he was instantly captivated by FDOA’s mission. Throughout the years, the SportsAbility Expo has remained Gordon’s favorite FDOA program.

Gordon's advice to newly injured people...

“... be strong, get an education and get to work. It's worth it.”Photo of Gordon Palmer

When he was 18, Gordon was injured in a car accident two weeks before his high school graduation, which left him a quadriplegic. He says he was blessed to have the support of his family and friends after the accident and would not have made it as far as he has without their support. Gordon used his injury as a catalyst to begin advocating for others with disabilities. Over the years, he has been active in various non-profit organizations, including the Center for Independent living of North Florida (Abilities 1st) and the Florida Transportation Disadvantaged Commission. Gordon stated, “My advice would be to someone who is newly injured to be strong, get an education and get to work. It's worth it.” He wants others to know that there are also many organizations and agencies, like Vocational Rehabilitation, that will assist you. 

Gordon earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University and his Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University. He was a senior attorney with the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission, State of Florida, where he worked for more than 30 years, until he retired in October 2020. Outside of volunteering, Gordon enjoys listening to smooth jazz and rock and roll, attending public events, traveling and watching movies. He loves eating seafood and spending time outdoors. As a Florida State alumnus, he is a devoted fan of FSU football.

To Gordon, inclusion means “having accommodations for people with all disabilities and colors.” Throughout his life, he has strived to make people of all abilities feel included. If Gordon could share one message with the world, it would be, “Let the little stuff go - and it is almost all small stuff. Focus on the positive things in your life, and go forward.” SportsAbility Alliance is lucky to have such a caring, dedicated person serving as its board president.

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