In January 2019 the US government experienced a shutdown. During this time the Coast Guard did not receive pay. Gary Thornton felt this was not right and wanted to do something to help. He heard STEP was collecting donations for Coast Guard families, so he came down to our office to deliver a check. He saw the hard work STEP and our volunteers were performing for military families and decided he wanted to join us in our mission. He soon became a dedicated volunteer here at STEP.
Prior to his time in volunteering, Gary worked with the LA County Harbor Patrol for 12 years and the LA County Sheriff’s Department for 21 years. He also served as a United States Marine Corps reservist for six years. Two of his grandsons would go on to also become Marines, one currently serving at Miramar Air Station in San Diego and the other was in the infantry.
Gary has spent the past six years of his life volunteering with various organizations, including America Supporting Americans, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and most recently, STEP. When asked about his motivation for his active volunteerism, he replied, “It’s all for the money.” His joking manner and gifts of baked goods always brighten up the STEP office.
“In all honesty, it’s something meaningful to do. A way to give back. And I’ve had a fortunate retirement. I have the time and energy to volunteer,” Gary said.
When Gary is not volunteering, he’s playing golf with his friends or spending time with his four children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
At STEP, our volunteers mean the world to us. They make up 41% of our workforce and keep our organization running smoothly. A special thank you to Gary for being our “on-call” volunteer. Any time we need a driver to pick up donations, someone to assist with our Warehouse on Wheels (WOW) events, or even an extra set of hands to stuff fundraiser goodie bags, Gary is here for us.
Interested in volunteering like Gary? Apply today stepsocal.org/volunteer