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Garth Yeazel: Community Volunteer Nominee

Garth Yeazel: Community Volunteer Nominee
May 24, 2022 Volunteers

MOM recently nominated Garth for a United Way of Dane County’s Community Volunteer Award. We'd like to share with you a little about Garth and his service to MOM through the years.

Garth has volunteered with us for around 20 years in the information technology area.   When Garth first started volunteering with MOM, we were a small organization with less than 5 employees and had a very small budget even for programs, and almost no budget for technology or infrastructure.  Garth, believing firmly in our mission, helped wherever he could, including supporting our server and individual work stations, as well as helping support our access database that housed all of our donor and client information.  

To say that an organization’s IT needs are different and more complex now than twenty years ago would be an understatement.  In addition to the change in IT landscape, MOM has seen tremendous growth and change, now supporting nearly twenty employees and two separate buildings.  Garth has supported our needs through it all.  He not only runs two of his own businesses, Prometric Testing Center, and his own IT consulting business, but he also consistently makes time for MOM and our tech needs.  As MOM and our needs grew, MOM offered to pay Garth for his services.  While now we do pay for some of his work at a rate well below the market nonprofit rate, nearly half of his hours at MOM are still as a volunteer.  

Garth provides support for our more than 20 desktop computers, servers, WIFI and VPN, as well as serving as a helpdesk to us, answering texts and phone calls and coming in after hours when we can’t problem solve an issue on our own.  This equals out to several hours of volunteer work each month at regularly scheduled times as well as additional volunteer hours responding to occasional emergency IT needs we may have outside those times.  

IT support is expensive, and also timely IT support, even paid, is not always available, especially for everyday questions and needs.  Garth has not only saved us tens of thousands of dollars over the years due to his volunteer service, but also has helped us problem solve issues such as integrating new software solutions and technologies. He has also researched and procured less expensive or even free software and hardware, and even provides compassionate support when an employee is struggling with the technology and needs some extra time or explanation. 

During the pandemic, all employees had to initially switch to using home computers.  Their personal computers and home internet had varying capabilities.  Even when he was personally moving all his own businesses and consulting contracts to working remotely, he took the time to help MOM figure out our next steps, including accelerating the completion of the VPN and helping troubleshoot individual employee’s home computer VPN access. 

Because of Garth’s many hours of volunteer service, MOM has been able to redirect these tens of thousands of dollars to provide housing stability and food security to our community, while also having someone who intimately understands our IT needs and provides timely professional and compassionate support. His intervention in technology issues for staff members has decreased stress levels and allowed staff to focus time and energy on moving our mission forward.

Garth has a heart for service, and always jumps into help, using his very broad range of skills.  He may be at MOM to work on a computer issue, and while there see a staff member discussing another issue. He doesn’t hesitate to put the computer work aside and help with whatever issue he sees.  One time, MOM received a donation of cubicles from a local organization that was remodeling.  Garth mentioned that he knew how to put cubicles together—a very specific skill set that not many people have! He was instrumental in helping get the cubicles set up, providing much needed extra office space for staff and volunteers.   Garth has fixed electrical issues, rerun cabling, fixed doors, and put together complicated office furniture when we moved to our current building.  He volunteers his unique, valuable professional skills because of his commitment to our mission of ending hunger and preventing homelessness in our community.

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