As this year comes to a close and we reflect on the accomplishments and memories of 2019, our newspaper staff began preparing for our year-end publication. We asked ourselves whom we should highlight in this last “Community Spotlight” article? And we must say, we think we are pretty clever! We decided it was about time that we highlighted the very woman who usually composes this column.
To close out 2019, we are proud to share with you about Waynedale’s very own, Camille Garrison. Every community has one, a rock star who embodies the spirit of the community, volunteers and plans events, and continually brags about how great her community truly is. Waynedale is no exception and Camille is the gal who fits this definition to a “T.”
Camille moved to the Waynedale area 10 years ago and has never looked back. She shared, “While house shopping all over southwest Fort Wayne, my husband told me I better not fall in love with the first house we saw.
But, of course, I did!’” Camille reminisced, “I was born as a Buckeye in Pioneer, a small town in Northwest Ohio. Due to my dad’s job, we moved to Fort Wayne when I was nine. I attended SWAC school system, graduated from Homestead High School and earned a degree at International Business College. I am married to my wonderful husband Jack; we celebrated 16 years in November. I am so fortunate to also have Jack’s daughter, Alicia, be an integral part of our lives. Four months ago, she and her husband Andy blessed us with our first grandchild, Sadie.” Up until the birth of her grandchild, Camille and Jack were only able to spoil their grand-beagles.
Camille is involved in so many aspects of Waynedale, some people forget that she has a career outside of her many roles in our community. “My career has been varied, although long tenures at each, including restaurant management, sales at the family food brokerage and regional manager for Pillsbury before moving into the healthcare field, first as Activity Director and then into Marketing,” Camille recalled. “I worked in marketing for Kingston Residence for 11 years. This gave me the opportunity to meet many of our business and church leaders as well as become acquainted with residents of the community. Because my husband traveled, being near the airport was a plus and it was close to work for me as well.”
Camille shared that recently she began a new adventure in her career and she is “just observing one year of working for the Volunteer Center as Program Outreach Coordinator and it is a perfect fit! We link people in the community who want to volunteer with area non-profits, civic, health, and faith-based organizations who are in need of volunteers. Volunteer Center also sponsors Coats for Kids, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and Second Chance Legal Clinics.”
Outside of her work, Camille doesn’t leave any stone unturned in ways she can help her community. She is board member of Honor Flight Northeast Indiana, she serves on the board for Winterset Association and she oversees the Waynedale Trails and Sidewalks Initiative. She states, “I share the responsibility of supporting the Adopt a Greenway Program, sponsoring a two mile stretch of the St. Mary’s Pathway, with my Winterset neighbor Steve Binkley; I guided the EMBARK event; co-chaired the Walk In Waynedale with Megan Ryan and like to be involved with anything Waynedale related!”
Along with these roles, Camille is also engaged with her church. “I am very involved in Waynedale United Methodist Church. They are a dedicated group of people providing free community meals, running a local food bank and doing outreach in the area. So, they share many of my same passions,” said Camille.
It is no surprise that with all of these avenues of helping others and supporting organizations in her community, Camille has been awarded several honors. Camille received the Ernestine M. Raclin Community Leadership Award from 1st Source Bank in 2016 and the Waynedale Star Award from The Waynedale News in 2016.
Camille’s husband, Jack, said she has two speeds, on and off. But, when she does have leisure time she loves to read, walk, bike and scrapbook, mostly multitasking with each. Her guilty pleasure, when she does stop moving, is Candy Crush! Camille also revealed, “I love the theatre and music, attending events at the Embassy, Civic Theatre, Clyde Theater and Wagon Wheel.”
It is no surprise to anyone who knows Camille that she is a bit of a perfectionist. Perhaps this is what has helped keep her going through countless events and volunteer opportunities. But it is more likely her dedication and love for others. “I love Waynedale and believe in it. I appreciate the history, the feeling of community, and how people are passionate about seeing positive movement. It is like one big neighborhood,” Camille avidly stated. Her dedication is going on 10 years!
Many would ask, what has helped to motivate her all these years. Her answer is this, “I love the momentum. Residents of the community are enthusiastic about the positive changes we have seen in Waynedale. We’ve enjoyed the addition of the ramp connecting us to the St. Mary’s Pathway at the intersection of Lower Huntington and Fairfield, the tornado siren, the new Bluffton Road Trails and Sidewalks. Work is continuing on the Waynedale Corridor Project. We are privileged to have dedicated business leaders as part of the Waynedale Business Chamber and the Waynedale Community Improvement Team. There are just so many good things happening, it is contagious!”
When asked about what she is most proud of, Camille stated, “I would have to say the generosity of the Waynedale Community. Through community events such as the Taste of Waynedale, Good Old Days and other events, we were able to provide $20,000 to the City of Fort Wayne toward the design work of the Bluffton Road Trails and Sidewalks.”
Like the energizer bunny, she just keeps going. “I wish there were more hours in each day so that I could do all the things on my bucket list! Spending time with my new granddaughter tops the list along with travel with my husband. But in the meantime, we are gearing up for the 2nd Annual Walk In Waynedale in August… so, expect to hear more soon!”