Garrett stands with RSVP Program Director Bonnie Lewis and volunteer coordinator from the Utah Valley Rides program as he receives the Utah Senior Corps Service Award in June.
Garrett Watkins received a Utah Senior Corps Service Award in June 2020 for his important service in the community. He has been an RSVP volunteer for the Mountainland Association of Governments RSVP program. He volunteers as a driver for the Utah Valley Rides program. In 2018 Garrett started volunteering with the RSVP program and since then has given more than 2000 hours of service! He serves up to three days a week as a volunteer driver who provides service to senior citizens, people with disabilities, and individuals with low-income to expand their independence and community access by providing safe, reliable rides. The destinations usually are for shopping, doctors’ appointments, or other places like banks or senior centers.
The staff at Utah Valley Rides can’t imagine the program without Garrett. He is an amazing volunteer who is always friendly and outgoing and the passengers love him. He regularly steps up to help when they are short-staffed. Garrett feels the ride service is invaluable as it fills a gap for individuals who can’t quite manage the public transit system, don’t qualify for paratransit services, and have no personal transportation.
Garrett loves getting to know the passengers and hearing their stories. He takes the time to make the passengers feel important. He also provides comfort to passengers to make them feel safe on the road. One ride he was taking a woman with her cat to the vet. The cat was safely buckled into a stroller when another car cut in front of the car. The stroller collapsed and the cat and woman became distressed. With Garrett’s quick thoughtfulness, he pulled over and helped calm them before carrying on.
Other passengers often talk about his patience, consideration, and helpfulness.
For Garrett he appreciates the opportunity to stay connected with other people. After 37 years of working in the juvenile justice services he’s decided to pick up his “volunteer career” and looks forward to continuing improving the lives of others. He appreciates the opportunity to stay connected with people. He knows he’s helping provide a valuable service to seniors that are local to him.
RSVP volunteers bring their lifetime of experience and serve in a diverse array of service opportunities. These opportunities may include delivering home-delivered meals, tutoring and mentoring youth, renovating homes, preparing for and responding to natural disasters, and protecting the environment.
To find out information about the Senior Corps programs in your community and the contact information, please visit the Utah Senior Service Corps Director Associate website.
AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are both programs that receive funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for service, volunteering, and civic engagement. UServeUtah is excited to spotlight the service of these Senior Corps Service Award winners. Each year one Senior Corps Service Award recipient will receive the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism Power of Service Award.