We've had the honor of meeting and knowing lots of people over the past 53 years, but if you ask our team members who have been here for some time who their favorite is, you're likely to get a resounding and heartfelt "Mr. Jack!"
Jack Gidden was quite likely one of Unclaimed Baggage's biggest fans ever, and we were certainly a huge fan of his. We don't even know how to count the many hours he has spent shopping the store and sharing stories with our team.
Mr. Jack passed this October at the age of 95. Not only was he a favorite guest and dear friend to many here, but he was a true servant to his country. This Veteran's Day, we wanted to honor Mr. Jack for his service and sacrifice, as well as share some of our team's cherished memories of his time with us.
Jack Gidden served for 28 years, beginning in the National Guard and then in the Army, achieving the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He served three tours in Korea, one in Vietnam, and two in Europe. For his service, Jack earned numerous commendations and medals, including the Bronze Star for his service in the Vietnam War, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Service Award.
"Mr. Jack was a treasure, and I loved every conversation I ever had with him. He was an interesting person and regularly shared compelling stories of his time in service and leading in the Army. He really enjoyed tinkering. In fact, throughout the years we would give him broken electronics to repair, and he would bring them back to us refurbished. Mr. Jack was also kind. While he had a gruff, military disposition at times, especially when sharing his war stories, kindness was an evident characteristic of his. He always had a laugh and a smile for the team members who work here. He would often buy toys in our store and give them out to children shopping in our store that evidently did not have much just to bring a smile to their faces. He even dropped lunch off for some of his favorite team members from time to time as an act of kindness. I miss him dearly." - Jennifer K.
"Mr. Jack loved western books! We would always hold back a good selection for him to go through every time he came into the store, and he always looked forward to them. He even found out that my dad liked westerns and brought in a couple of boxes of western books for him. We were still holding books for Mr. Jack until he could no longer come to the store. I always loved his interesting stories, and his laugh and smile. He was so kind." - Amber W.
"The last time I saw Mr. Jack, he came into the store to shop for a few books, and we all graciously welcomed him. As I walked him to his car, his books in my hand, we talked and even cried a little, and as I placed the books in the trunk of his car, he told me how much he loved coming to Unclaimed Baggage and that he was going to miss us all. I opened his car door for him as we shared our last goodbye. I loved Mr. Jack and will miss him and the stories he would tell every time he visited. He will always be one of my favorite guests." - J'Guan M.
"One of my favorite stories about Mr. Jack was from his time in the National Guard. He joined the 151st Combat Engineering Battalion as a young man. Most people thought at the time the guard would never be called up, but the Korean War heated up and he was called to serve. Everyone thought they were going to Japan first, but they went straight to Korea, where they were put to work building bridges and repairing roads. Mr. Jack was very proud that there is a bridge still in use today called the Alabama Bridge." - Hal B.
"Mr. Jack was the nicest man. We were delighted to help him with his western books at the store. I always enjoyed talking to him and came to find out he knew my grandfather from the time when they were young. He also shared stories about when they were young and their good times together. He will be missed." - Haylea C.
Mr. Jack will be greatly missed. We are deeply grateful for his friendship and for his service. If you have a favorite story of Mr. Jack, we would love to read it and share with our team! You can email it to email@example.com.
Thank you to all of those who have served and are serving our country!