Resident Spotlight: Interview with Veteran Don Griffin

Project Mercury and the US Navy

Donald Griffin, now a resident at Mansions Senior Living in Sandy Springs, enlisted in the US Navy at 17 years of age in Clearwater, Florida and his journeys have sent him all over the world including the barracks of Pearl Harbor. In his professional career, he worked for General Dynamics where he was a part of building a missile for Project Mercury which sent the first American astronauts into space.

With his time that he served our nation, Griffin was assigned to multiple positions from serving as a supervisor in the mess hall to typing letters and honorary medals to parents, wives and relatives of the marine and naval personnel who were wounded, killed or missing in action during combat. He also served in cleaning up the Admirals war planning room; where he remembers seeing miniature ships and their locations in the Pacific positioned on a green felt table top.

Not only did Don serve in the US Navy for many years, but he’s also become the armed forces greatest cheerleader. Griffin is a proud member of the Civil Defense Committee for the Downtown Atlanta Kiwanis club and is actively involved in meeting, greeting, taking care of our troops and listening to their stories when they arrive home from places like Afghanistan and Iraq. The president of the Kiwanis Club awarded him a certificate for his service at the airport.


On the certificate presented to Don on behalf of the Kiwanis club of Atlanta it said “Donald Griffin has a heart of service and has performed his responsibilities with unwavering dedication month after month. He continues to serve our military with the same dedication and distinction first manifested in the US Navy from 1945-1946.”

Don loves living at the Mansions and has advice to give to other seniors in choosing an independent living community.

Don Griffin

Interview with this hero and his advice to seniors looking for an apartment:

What do you like about living at Mansions independent living community?

“I primarily like the fact I am making one payment a month. It eliminates property taxes, any type of utility bills or maintenance of the grounds costs. I love the people that work here and I’ve enjoyed meeting Michael who is part of the staff here, and he has been very cooperative in anything that has come up as far as any questions I’ve had. “

What advice would you give to other seniors that are choosing an independent living community?

“Get to know the people that are in charge. Let them show you around and let it impress you as to what the community is like. This community has just about everything you could ask for, as well as many activities that you can participate in. Give it a general observation to see if you are impressed and if so, seriously consider moving in.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“They have a lot of activities going on around here; we love going to the operas and plays. The staff here provides transportation to these events and buys the tickets for us, which is nice. Aside from being on the civil defense committee for the local Kiwanis club, we (my wife and I) are involved at our church where we sing in the choir and I also take a few courses at Mercer University.”

What are you doing on Memorial Day this year?

“We will be going to the Dunwoody Baptist Church program that recognizes individuals who have served in the armed forces.”

What is one piece of advice you would tell your grandkids?

“That they would do their best, have strong work ethic and be humble in whatever they do.”

Griffin came from generations of American Legion veterans of World War I and was so vested in the support of our troops that even as a child he was a part of the Sons of the American Legion organization. He has fond memories of marching in the annual Armistice Day parade with his greatest hero, his father, hearing the sounds of patriotic music, 21 gun salutes and speeches from public officials. These childhood experiences inspired him to continue his family legacy serving our nation.


Staff member at Mansions, Michael Costlow lives his life according to the advice his father gave him “find a job that you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life and I enjoy the residents at the Sandy Springs Mansions and the relationships that I continue to develop with them.”