John Simpson, who was born and raised in Gainesville, spends every day striving to impart “unusual kindness” on the community.
“I want to be a person of unusual kindness, and I want to have a church of unusual kindness,” he said.
Simpson’s positive influence over the citizens of Hall County hasn’t gone unnoticed. He was honored as Gainesville’s Jaycees Young Man of the Year on Feb. 21.
“I’m just humbled and I feel honored,” Simpson said. “I get in my car every day and go to work, and I just do a little extra. That’s what makes Gainesville so incredible is that other people do the same thing as I do, I was just the lucky one that got picked.”
Simpson has impacted both members of Lanier Christian Church and students at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville for years.
Simpson said his father has served as the minister of Lanier Christian Church for 42 years. Recently becoming an ordained minister himself, Simpson has spent nine years preaching at the church.
He said he has enjoyed watching the church start with a handful of people, and blossom into a service with more than 90 members.
Despite growing up as a preacher’s son, Simpson said his father didn’t inspire him to become a minister, but his love for the Lord.
Simpson’s heart for others reaches beyond his church and into the school where he has worked at for 14 years.
He started off coaching cross country, football, basketball and baseball at Lakeview Academy for around six years, then took on an administrative role as the dean of students.
He later became the enrollment and external relations director, and is now the assistant head of the academy.
“I love the students, no question there, they’re incredible,” Simpson said. “I get to work with the greatest students in the world.”
Simpson additionally encourages students and school staff through his role in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Hall County.
Since high school he has been active with the nonprofit, previously serving as a board member. He now volunteers with local coaches and sports athletes, inspiring them on their journey with Jesus Christ.
He currently serves as the chairman of the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Board. Simpson said he is blessed to work with such an amazing group of people and holds the utmost respect for Melvin Cooper, the department’s director who is set to retire after 47 years with the city on May 31.
While the Parks and Recreation Board helps launch a range of positive initiatives and projects in Gainesville, Simpson said he is most proud of their recent tribute to Cooper — the J. Melvin Cooper Youth Sports Complex.
The new facility plans to contain six baseball fields, batting cages, a playground and pavilion, trails and two fields usable for football, soccer or lacrosse.
Throughout his time preaching, teaching and volunteering, Simpson said he wouldn’t have been as successful without the support of his parents, sister, wife and daughter. He also gives thanks to the citizens of Hall County for fostering a warm and welcoming community.
From Northeast Georgia Medical Center and the police department, to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and local restaurants, Simpson said he proud to call Gainesville his home.
“I’m so thankful for what other people do,” he said. “The people are what make the city of Gainesville and Hall county what it is today. We’re just so blessed.”