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Scott County man raising money to build water towers in Gambia

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 27, 2024

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the last three years, Bruce Gordon has been sending money to Africa for a good cause.

Gordon is an 89-year-old veteran who served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. After his time as a fighter pilot, Gordon went into electronic warfare for a time, then ran a small airline in Saudi Arabia. He returned to the U.S. for analysis of ships and aircraft maintenance, before retiring here in Georgetown.

With all of his tech-savvy, Gordon was suspicious when he got a Facebook message from Gambia.

“I was immediately suspicious,” Gordon said, “but this man was not asking for much. His father had died, his mother was dying. He had a younger brother and sister, and no way to support them.”

Gordon lives with what he calls “the spirit of attack.”

“There’s always things off to the side. There are always things saying no, don’t do it,” Gordon said. “The spirit of attack. When you go out and see it, you do it.”

After doing his research, Gordon decided to help.

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“When I got my message, the first thing I did was go to Google maps and find out where Gambia was,” said Gordon.

Gordon started by sending money. Then, he helped with the house and bought solar panels to provide light. Finally, he moved on to water towers. Gordon's experience with solar panels gave him a bright idea.

“We built the first water tower with solar panels,” he said. “That was one side of town. Turned out people on the other side of town needed it too, so I built a second one on the other side of town.”

The first two towers went towards drinking water. Then, Gordon had another idea.

“I said, ‘we need to do something so they can sustain themselves.’ So you can see the dry ground behind it only grew casaba and not very much of that. With the water, in two years, the crops were growing.”

The first tower went up in 2021. Now, Gordon has provided for six towers total. Throughout the process, the men in the village of Kembujeh continued sending pictures. But Gordon still had reservations about telling people about this project.

“I was embarrassed that I was sending money to Africa to somebody I had never met,” Gordon said. “I didn’t even tell my wife.”

But then, Gordon received an unexpected gift. Here is his story:

“At Christmas of last year, my daughter was going on a tour of the west coast of Africa, and she went into Gambia as a tourist. I was contacting her, I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got contacts in Gambia. I’d really like it if you could go see one of my water towers. And she asked her guide if they could divert their tour bus into the village of Kembujeh and see one of my water towers.”

“They extended their trip a little bit and went into Kembujeh, and my daughter and her husband got to see the latest of my towers, complete with a banner showing the American flag on it as well as the Gambian flag”

The sign contained this message: “Recognise the whole human race as one,” and below it reading “This water is donated by Grandma/Grandpa to the residence of this village.”


“That proved that I was not out of my mind, I had not been scammed,” Gordon finished. “That was the best Christmas I ever had to see those pictures.”

Seeing these towers come to life has since pushed Gordon to do even more.

“People ask me, is this your last thing? Because I’m 89 years, no! This is, I won’t say it’s my last thing. It’s something I’m doing, and there will be something more,” Gordon said.

This ‘something more’ includes building two more towers for agriculture.

“People ask me, is this your last thing? Because I’m 89 years, no! This is, I won’t say it’s my last thing. It’s something I’m doing, and there will be something more.”

This time, though, Gordon hopes to get the community involved. He started a GoFundMe dedicated to building the two water towers.

“That is what I am doing, and the spirit of attack got me out there. I could see something; I could do it.”

To donate towards the water towers in Gambia, click here.