For Scott Garrison, volunteering provides him with an opportunity to continue giving back to the military community, even though he is no longer on active duty.
Scott Garrison is a third generation U.S. Army veteran and the chief of staff for the Global Analysis & Operations business at BAE Systems in McLean, Va. He served eight years in the U.S. Army and continues serving the military through volunteering.
Whether it is the USO, The Mission Continues or Operation Homefront, Scott volunteers with various charitable organizations that focus on supporting our military and their families. In particular, he appreciates the fact that volunteering with these organizations provides him with an opportunity to continue to give back, even though he is no longer on active duty.
What do you do for BAE Systems?
I’m the chief of staff for the Global Analysis & Operations (GAO) business in McLean, Va., where I provide strategic leadership and direction for the GAO business area while overseeing and managing workflows and operations for its four business units and functional support staff. I’m also involved in key leadership initiatives, and facilitate communication to ensure the timely execution of projects against stated business objectives. I pride myself on working proactively to anticipate, eliminate, and resolve important day-to-day matters to allow senior leaders to focus their attention on the execution of the businesses’ market growth strategy.
Do you have a personal connection to the military?
My father, Don Garrison, retired as a first sergeant from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service and two tours in Vietnam. I was also in the U.S. Army for eight years. My first tour was with the 82nd Airborne Division on Ft. Bragg, N.C., and my second with the 7th Battalion 8th Field Artillery on Schofield, Hawaii. My son, Bryce has been in the U.S. Army for four years, serving on Ft. Belvoir, Va., and was recently promoted to the rank of captain. It is GREAT to have him close to home!
How did you get involved with charitable organizations and how do you support them?
I started supporting charitable organizations back in 2004 when I joined BAE Systems. I’m fortunate that the company sponsors and partners with many charitable organizations that support the military and love that I have the opportunity to continue “giving back” even though I’m no longer on active duty. Whether BAE Systems is sponsoring an event held by the USO, Operation Homefront, The Mission Continues, or others, I jump at the chance to serve once again through volunteering; it makes me feel like I’m still part of an important team, supporting the military. Another very important event close to me is the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride, which is a rally that takes place at the Pentagon each year hosting more than 500,000 motorcyclists with the goal to raise awareness for Prisoners Of War / Missing In Action (POW/MIA) from all wars and remind everyone of their watchwords: “We Will Not Forget.” I find my participation in all of these events very rewarding!
What’s your most memorable experience volunteering for charitable organizations?
My most memorable experience was volunteering during the Warrior Adventure Day, which is a BAE Systems hosted event to provide wounded warriors and their care-takers with a day of fun and healing in the great outdoors. I remember when we picked up the soldiers that morning, they were distant. They did not know or trust any of us. As the day went on, and after lunch, river rafting, and sharing stories, the return bus ride was amazing. The bus was so loud with laughter, banter, talking, and a lot of smiles. When we departed, we all hugged, traded phone numbers and thanked each other for a spectacular day. We were complete strangers that morning and became best friends that evening. It was a healing experience not only for the soldiers but for all of us. I wish I could have bottled that day to share with my family and friends!
What advice would you give someone who is looking to volunteer and give back to the military community?
It may take you a few times to find the event that touches you, as some events are more rewarding experiences than others, but I recommend you find an event that makes a greater impact on a soldier or family member than it does on you. I find those events to be more rewarding to me. Everyone has the power to decide whether or not to be part of something larger than themselves, and I think if people make the decision to jump in with both feet, they will LOVE it!
What would you like to say to those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military?
Actively listen to and engage in respectful conversations with service members who are willing to engage. Many of our military personnel and their families have heard the comment, “thank you for your service.” Don’t feel uncomfortable to continue the conversation. Try shaking their hand, welcoming them home, or asking them about their experiences or reintegration back home. Veterans are finding it challenging to really transition to civilian life and a small gesture can go a long way. Because gratitude is so important, it stands out when we devote time and mental energy to truly engaging with military members and their families.