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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Gary Bryon Gibbs: The Man from Soldier, Iowa

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on November 22, 2020

Gary “Bryon” Gibbs (Reg. No. 17621-029) was born in Onawa, Iowa on October 25, 1970. His parents Gary and Joyce Gibbs raised Byron and his sister, Cheryl, on a farm in a rural community near Soldier, Iowa.

Bryon graduated in 1989 from East Monona High School. He was class vice president, captain of the football team, president of his school’s chapter of the Future Farmers of America, president of his Soldier Lutheran Church’s sports league, prom king, and an all-around good student and person.

After high school, Bryon worked in the construction and railroad industries as a professionally trained welder for 25 years. Bryon’s work would take him throughout the Midwest.

An Unexpected Detour in Life

I met Bryon on May 28th, 2020 in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) of the Talladega medium security prison. Based on the respect Bryon commanded in the SHU, I initially thought he was part of the SHU’s staff.

Bryon was well-groomed in his Orderly uniform. He walked and spoke with authority. Bryon treated everyone with respect and dignity. What made Bryon stick out to me was his professionalism. Here was a white inmate who conferred respect on all prisoners, regardless of their race or circumstances in life. He sought nothing from them in return.

I knew from Bryon’s accent that he had grown up in the Midwest. He was completely devoid of any racial prejudice. Plus Bryon was smart, organized, energetic, thoughtful, and considerate of the misfortunes of those around him. Bryon was also a motivator to fellow inmates.

I made it my business to befriend Bryon. We became extremely close when prison officials placed Bryon and cellmate, Benjamin Johnson, in a cell next to mine. We talked through the walls for hours everyday.

Bryon talked about growing up in Iowa on his family’s farm. He bragged about his 15 year-old daughter, Megan Lee Harris-Gibbs. She is the light of his life. His father died in 2012 and he remains extremely close to Joyce and Cheryl.

Bryon’s life took a tragic turn when he became a “meth” addict. Later, his addiction would expand to cocaine. Eventually the drugs took control of Bryon’s life. He became a functional addict in the sense that he would work on his day-job with dependability and reliability, while getting high at night.

Bryon went to a state prison in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2003 for possession of meth and cocaine. After serving time for a couple of years, Bryon became a treatment specialist at the Omaha Campus for Hope in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bryon was clean for over a decade before he fell off the wagon and returned to using meth. He entered the federal prison in 2018 after a conviction on meth charges. He is clean, again.

In two years, Bryon worked his custody classification points down from incarceration in the medium security prison at Talladega to prison camp points. Bryon came to the SHU as part of the prison transfer process that was supposed to last one week. However, prison officials kept Bryon in the SHU from February to October 20th, 2020.

A New Life Plan

In the one month that Bryon was my neighbor in the SHU, we identified a new life plan for him that develops and cultivates his God-given talents – Bryon is highly intelligent, extremely personable, forward thinking, goal oriented, hard working, family oriented, competitive by nature, and deeply religious. Bryon and Ben conducted Bible study every night. Nothing about it was fake.

When he is released from prison and serves his probationary period, Bryon will return to Iowa and petition the government to have his voting rights restored. He will organize his network of high school friends, farmers and industrial workers throughout the state. Bryon will then qualify to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), whenever Grassley retires. Bryon will make agriculture, farm aid, and prison reform the centerpieces of his campaign.

Bryon’s hands-on experience working on his parent’s 300 acre farm, together with Cheryl’s and her husband’s experience working their 9,000 acre farm gives Bryon special insight on what Iowans need in Washington. Furthermore, no candidate will outwork Bryon. He is driven to make a positive difference in the lives of his fellow Iowans.

After one term in the U.S. Senate, Bryon Gibbs will run as a Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States. His credentials will be like no other candidate’s. Bryon will win! You can bank on it.

Viktor E. Frankl once said, “The last of human freedoms [is] the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” Bryon Gibbs lives this quote. He has chosen to become a “servant leader” in the White House.

It does not matter whether we believe Bryon can make the incredible journey from an inmate in Talladega federal prison’s SHU to the U.S. presidency. Bryon believes he can do it. I do too.

After Bryon is sworn in on the steps of our nation’s Capital in Washington, a moving van crew in Talladega will disassemble B-Range prison cells 123 and 124 and move them to the Smithsonian Museum for posterity.

Underestimate Bryon Gibbs at your own political peril. As for me, I am going to enjoy watching this history in the making.

Remember, I predicted Donald J. Trump’s election victory on August 2, 2015 only 3 weeks after Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 race. I also predicted his defeat in 2020.

PHOTO: Gary Bryon Gibbs

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