Donn Matthew Garby
By Leslie Lalonde
It was a retired Army First Class mentor in high school ROTC that sparked Donn Garby’s interest in honoring the sacrifices of our armed forces. Garby, a political science major at Flagler College, said the college has given him the opportunity to let his passion grow. “My mentor helped me through high school and I learned from hearing his stories and hardships from his time serving our country,” Garby said.
So in the fall of 2014, Garby created a new club at Flagler: The United States Military Veterans Club. Since its beginning, Garby has spent $1,000 out of his own pocket to fund the club and various activities planned. “I have been supplying most of the funds for these events,” Darby said, “but I want this club to grow so that when I graduate, veterans will still be honored here.”
While Garby isn’t a vet himself, his grandfather served in the U.S. military and he has a friend in the National Guard who he said is like a sister to him. “Veterans and military personnel are vital members of this society,” he said. “I feel like citizens recognize this, but don’t talk about it.”
He has decided to do just that. This past Sept. 11, he held a ceremony on campus that included giant American flags unfurled from the Ponce’s towers at the times the hijacked planes struck New York’s World Trade Center towers. He intends to expand the event in 2015.
Garby had said the Peace Corps was where he used to see himself after college, but now his future has taken a different route. “The Peace Corps has sort of gone away,” Garby noted. “I am more interested in local government or the (New York Police Department).”
Garby attributes his change in careers to the mixed messages portrayed in the media about police officers. “In the past year there has been a lot of media coverage involving police, almost showing them in a bad light,” Garby said. Being a police officer will also allow Garby to be very influential within society, which aids in his desire to build relationships within his community.
Garby will graduate Flagler College after 3 years and plans to head straight to graduate school. “Rutgers is really where I want to go, so I am taking 19-21 credit hours per semester so I can save up for my next degree.”
This year, aside from expanding all of the activities conducted last year, the Veterans Club will reach out to local organizations whose sole purpose deals with veteran’s affairs. These include The Legion Post, Veteran of Foreign Wars, and our local congressman’s Veteran’s Affairs Department.