by BECCA BARR | photos by Kilalio Photography

Dedicated Volunteer

volunteer_garretson1Garry Garretson loves Vista, where he’s lived for the past 25 years. “I enjoy the diversity of great people, my church, my neighbors, the varying terrains, and the climatic wonderland where we live,” Garry related. “My neighbors are fabulous. We care about each other.”

Originally from Boone County, WV, Garry settled in Vista by way of Connecticut and Washington, D.C. After serving in the Navy for four years, Garry spent the next 40 years working for ServiceMaster/Aramark, the company that eventually brought him to Vista. “We were contracted to manage support departments in hospitals, universities, public schools, sports arenas, and other facilities,” Garry explained. He was promoted through a variety of positions until he retired in 2010.

Garry is not sitting idly in retirement. He volunteers with many local organizations. He’s a member of the Vista Chamber of Commerce and served 12 years with the Vista Education Foundation. “We helped the Vista Unified School District achieve and maintain a superior primary and secondary education system,” Garry said. He is also involved with Educate to Career, a group that helps people make decisions for college and career.


Name: Garry G. Garretson
Community: Vista
Profession: Retired
Hobbies & Interests: Writing, hiking, bicycling, and serving
Favorite Places in Vista: The trails for hiking and biking at Buena Vista Park, the Conservancy Trail, etc., the Civic Center seeing great service to our community, North Coast Church learning and serving, Moonlight Amphitheater, hanging out and writing at some special coffee shops (Lush and Skybound), and dining at one of our great restaurants.


volunteer_garretson2Working with veterans is another cause dear to Garry’s heart. “I served in the Navy, flying as an air crewman for three years in Vietnam. When returning to civilian life, we were greeted with hate and hostility,” Garry recalled. “I vowed to do everything I could to ensure that future generations never experienced anything but support and thanks.” To that end, Garry is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He helps train veterans who are transitioning out of the military through the Veteran Career Transition Assistance Program, and is part of the Veterans’ Writing Group of San Diego.

Garry also volunteers with the Vista Planning Commission and the North Coast Church, and has fond memories about past groups he’s worked with. “Each organization is important for me to give back, make our community better, and have a bunch of fun,” Garry noted. “We are either part of the solution, part of the problem, or waiting for somebody else to do it. I am focused on leading, following, or getting out of the way when others take control.”

Garry has been married to his wife, Julie, for 50 years. Together they have three children and one grandson. When not volunteering, he can be found hiking and writing short stories, novels, and poetry.