Story and photo by John Brooks
Special to GUIDON
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Garrett is a man you want on your side.
As the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Ombudsman, his military experience combined with two masters degrees, one in business and the other in Health Administration, provide the right prescription to resolve issues patients encounter.
An Ombudsman is a liaison between service members, the hospital commander and Army Medical Command. The Ombudsman’s mission is to communicate, facilitate and solve problems as an independent, neutral and impartial mediator.
“An Ombudsman cuts through the red tape and exercises three essential traits: compassion, caring and empathy,” Garrett said.
As an Ombudsman, Garrett advocates for Soldiers, retirees, family members, and veterans. He’s also the official advocate for members of all branches of the military and their families throughout Missouri, as GLWACH’s ombudsman.
Garrett partners with GLWACH’s Guest and Healthcare Relations staff, the hospital administrator, key providers, department chiefs, the hospital’s deputy commanders and command team to solve issues encountered by patients.
For Garrett, solving issues that Soldiers and their families encounter is nothing out of the ordinary.
As a non-commissioned officer coming up through the ranks, Garrett has been where the rubber meets the road. Caring for Soldiers with compassion and empathy is something that became part of him long ago.
One thing Garrett discovered he couldn’t do was actually “retire” when he retired from active duty. He gave it a shot, but it only lasted six months.
Garrett recognized his need to care for, mentor and help Soldiers was what drove him and made him who he is today.
“Before I retired, I met an Ombudsman and realized he had the best job in the Army. I became an Ombudsman to continue to serve Soldiers and Family members,” Garrett said.
“I serve every day as if it were my last,” Garrett said.
(Editor’s note: Brooks is the GLWACH marketing officer.)