Alan Garrone from Pensacola, Florida, is GCE’s 2021 Team Member of the Year. Alan started working at GCE 11 years ago. His mom used to work at Navy Federal, Credit Union and when he was at her office, he noticed a bus that dropped off young people his age to work. He asked who they were and learned it was a group of Project SEARCH students. His mom inquired, and soon Alan was one of the students. When he graduated, he transitioned into a janitorial role with GCE working at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. Alan was responsible for trash removal in a 255,000-square-feet building.
“I worked at the hospital for about 7 years, but I was interested in changing jobs so I could learn something new,” Alan said. “I like working outside.”
When a grounds maintenance position came open on the Lakeview Center campus, Alan spoke with Bryan Camacho about it.
“He didn’t have commercial landscape experience, but I could see his desire to learn,” said Bryan. “I also learned that he had experience in lawn care. He cuts grass on weekends to make extra money to help support him and his mom, who is a breast cancer survivor.”
Alan fits right in doing landscaping, edging, weeding, moving furniture, and always jumping in to help with anything else a team member needs. He works on equipment and drives a van that pulls a 25-foot trailer. He is now learning how to trim trees and has applied for the next position up of groundskeeper.
His job gives him purpose in life – a regular schedule and a great job to report to. His best friend at work is his boss, Bryan.
“We work like a team,” said Alan. “Bryan is a good boss, and he looks for opportunities to teach me new things.”
GCE’s 2021 Team Member of the Year engages in community service.
In his off time, Alan volunteers with the local fire department. He became active with fire fighting when he was 14 years old. “I go on all kinds of calls like fires, medical calls, car wrecks, and clean up help after hurricanes. I’m trying to get certified to fight fires.”
Alan helps others on his own time. For instance, he’s an avid surfer and coaches a couple of times a month with surfing athletes who have autism. Alan competes and helps others train for the Special Olympics in soccer, paddle-boarding, bowling and surfing. He’s a savvy fundraiser too.
“Alan sat in ‘jail’ waiting to get bailed out at the Publix fundraiser for Special Olympic,” said Bryan. “He told me he could only report to work if I donated!” It worked. Bryan gladly anted up for the cause.
“When I’ve needed to miss work to take care of my mom, Bryan has always understood,” said Alan. “I take her to doctors to make sure she’s OK. I’m her caretaker. I’m an only child.”
To say Alan has a big heart would be an understatement. He innately lives the GCE Mission 24/7.
“I can’t say enough good things about Alan. He doesn’t complain. He does a good job and gives 100%. I admire the other things he does as well,” Bryan said. “He made it easy to nominate him as Employee of the Year, and I’m honored to work with him.”
Whether Alan is working to make extra money to help pay bills at home, coaching a young surfer for the Special Olympics or going behind a team member to help with a project at-hand, he is always helping in some way.
“I like my job. What I like the most is getting to know people and working like a team.”
It’s clear why the GCE team selected Alan as to be the 2021 Team Member of the Year.