Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) Environmental Health Director Rick Garrison is retiring after 33 years of public service.
He has been employed at FCPH for 22 years and has served as the environmental health director at Fayette County Public Health for 19 of those years. Prior to coming to FCPH, he worked for 10 years at Highland County Health District.
“Basically what drew me to the field was a steady paycheck,” Garrison said. “I had no idea what I was going to be doing. I did not even know I was going to have a desk, telephone, and typewriter. I grew to love the job because it was outside and had a variety of programs such as septic systems and well construction and development.
“I enjoyed working with the contractors and other governmental agencies. It was also nice to drive throughout the counties and appreciate the outdoors,” he added.
When asked how public health has changed over the course of his career, Garrison noted that “it is much more regulated and a lot of my duties have been farmed out to private businesses such as soil scientists and system designers. Also, surveys of the sanitarians’ work were introduced after I began my career — this was more regulation than before. Manufactured home parks are no longer licensed by local health departments but we now enforce smoking rules so you pick up some programs and you lose others.”
Reflecting over the last three decades, Garrison said that “overall it has been a fulfilling and enjoyable career. In 33 years I have never used an alarm clock and I always wanted to come to work.”
Garrison’s future plans include volunteering with the Arch of Appalachia maintaining trails and providing nature talks; substitute teaching; and continuing his private business as a service provider and a private water system contractor.
The staff of Fayette County Public Health congratulates Rick and wishes him all the best in retirement.