By Jessie Hetzler
Sheridan Senior Center
SHERIDAN — Despite his name, Ron Sheridan is not a resident of either Sheridan or Wyoming.
Sheridan was born 68 years ago in Queens County, New York, to a hair dresser mother and fireman father. At the age of 4 he went to work selling newspapers, then donated the money he made to the local polio hospital in Port Jefferson, New York. The majority of his life has been a continuous adventure.
The Army took him to Vietnam and Korea. After being discharged, Sheridan enrolled in college and graduated with a degree in marketing management and a minor in real estate law. Life then led him in different directions.
Circumstances led Sheridan to work with the company Texas Instruments.
“I had a talent for discovering the weak link in systems,” Sheridan said. This talent resulted in his being sent to each of the TI facilities at one time or another.
When Texas Instruments closed, Sheridan discovered that he had another talent as an airbrush artist.
His success in this field led Sheridan to open his own shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. He started with T-shirts then moved to airbrushing vans, recreational vehicles and motorcycles, then to condo walls from coast to coast. But Sheridan enjoyed painting for kids more than anything. His talent took him to fine art level.
Sheridan always felt a need to do service-oriented work. A friend in New York called him to help with his business. While there, Sheridan took the test for the New York police and fire department. He was accepted to the New York fire department where he drove a fire truck through the streets of New York City. During his time with the fire department, Sheridan was injured so often that he was “put out to pasture” when he was young.
But Sheridan wasn’t finished.
“I was called by a friend to look over a factory in Haiti because the owners were losing money,” Sheridan said. “After finding the problem, I was offered the job of general manager.”
The job was a mixture of success and failure due to road blocks set up by the corrupt owners and unfortunate cultural practices. One thing led to another and Sheridan left Haiti just before a revolution occurred in which many people were killed, including company managers.
After a few years, Sheridan bought a boat and sailed around the Caribbean.
“I gave pencils and balloons to kids,” Sheridan said.
Traveling the Caribbean led Sheridan to the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands off the northeast coast of Panama. It was another new adventure for the globetrotter.
Two things that he noticed immediately were that the women were hand sewing a beautiful part of their clothing called Molas and the men fishing from dug out sail boats were using ragged sails made from bed sheets, campaign posters and just about anything else they could find.
Sheridan contacted a sailcloth manufacturer who made new sails for the fishing boats. He traded the sails for Molas that the women were making. This trade made the Kunas happy.
Sheridan is not currently sailing but traveling in a recreational vehicle. He continues to live a varied and interesting life.