John Anthony Shanklin

John Anthony Shanklin

AFRH-G Resident Highlight - John Anthony Shanklin

By Lori Kerns | Librarian

John Anthony Shanklin was born in Millport, Alabama. John and his three sisters were raised on a farm where all four children were taught the importance of hard work and a strong Christian faith. Along with his sisters, John was required to pitch in around the house by milking the cows before they set off for school, doing laundry, and other daily chores. In addition to helping out at home, he worked hard playing quarterback for his high school football team. His hard work paid off when Alabama A&M University offered him the opportunity to play there. One of the more memorable games he played as running back was against Xavier. Unfortunately, John never felt prepared to attend college so he left after about a year and a half. He was only home for a couple of months before he received a draft notice for the U.S. Army.

John’s hard work ethic carried over into his military career. Spending most of his time in artillery, John served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He also worked in locations such as Germany and Panama. While in Germany, he was given a unique opportunity to work with a one-star general who was serving as inspector general. After 21 years of service, John decided to retire at the rank of first sergeant. He would have liked to serve longer but made the decision to move back home and care for his father.

Moving back to Millport, John began a civilian career at a plywood company. He looked at the company’s paper plant in Columbus and decided to take a position there for higher pay. He worked at the plants for over twenty years.

After retiring altogether, John began dealing with the medical issues he suffered during his service in Vietnam and he decided he wanted to help other veterans with their medical issues. He helped them receive their benefits in any way he could like driving them to Tuscaloosa and walking them through the process. This helped him to feel fulfilled.

Back when he had been in the Army and stationed in Germany, John and his wife, Ellen, adopted a three-week old baby boy. The couple named the child Richard Anthony Shanklin. John is very proud that Richard has carried on his father’s military legacy. Richard has served in the Army as an RN and instructor for over thirty years. He also has two children of his own, a son and daughter, who make John a proud grandfather!

John is a fairly new resident at AFRH-G. He decided (after four visits with his son) to move to the Home a few years after Ellen passed away. Living at AFRH-G has made him feel like he has “no worries.” He enjoys talking with his friends and reading, especially the Bible. According to John, AFRH-G is a “great place to grow old.”