Today@Sam Article

Community Champions: Garrett Jeter

June 16, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

For some people, serving others is a learned behavior, something that took years to appreciate and pursue. Such is not the case for Garrett Jeter; serving others for the greater good is ingrained into the fiber of his being and has guided his actions throughout his life, and he is not alone.Garrett Jeter

Like his father and grandfather before him, Jeter and his family live in Oakhurst and are involved in the Huntsville community. Jeter works at Sam Houston State University as the director of infrastructure and networking for IT@Sam but has served his hometown area in other ways before taking on this role.

Jeter attended SHSU after high school and received a Bachelor of Business Administration. While working on his degree, he was a student worker for the IT department. Upon graduation, he became a police officer with the Huntsville Police Department, kicking off his dedication to service to the community.

“I was a SWAT team member as well as a field training officer. I loved what I did but after getting married and having a family I felt some priorities needed to change,” Jeter said. “I prayed really hard for direction and was led to a project manager position within IT. All the doors opened, and I have been here since 2012 working my way up to my current position as director of infrastructure and networking.”

Even though his career changed, Jeter still found ways to serve his campus and community. His team recently donated numerous network switches to Walker County, providing computers on the county network with better connectivity. He and his wife are also involved in their church, teaching Sunday school for middle school students, meeting with the junior high and high school youth groups on Wednesdays and coaching little league baseball in town.

Jeter knows it is important to turn out for his community, no matter the size or gravity of the event. When a torrential downpour blasted the city, leaving many without power and trees felled in yards or on roads, Jeter immediately started checking on friends and neighbors.Garrett Jeter removes limbs from a fallen tree in a neighbor's yard.

“One of our friends from church called and said, ‘Hey I need help, I have a tree on my house.’ I have never been able to say no to someone who needs help, friend or not. That’s just my personality, who I am,” Jeter said. “I told him to give me an hour to go home and load up my tractor and I will be there. I made it back to town and pushed trees out of the roadway to get to his house.” 

While Jeter and his family were working to remove the tree from their friend’s house, others in the neighborhood noticed and were inspired to pitch in. Eventually, Jeter said, a group from his church and Walker County Judge Colt Christian were on the scene and offering their assistance to his efforts. The group then moved from house to house, checking whether people were trapped in their homes or if they needed any help clearing debris.

“It’s always a good feeling to see people get involved and help total strangers who they have never met before,” Jeter said. “That’s what we love about Huntsville and how strong this community is.”

Reflecting on his time cleaning up after the storm and his community returning the favor by helping his family, Jeter finds Huntsville’s tight-knit community is one of a kind. He knows that other weather crises or misfortunes may come, but he is always prepared to rise to the occasion and knows his university community is behind him.

“I think SHSU’s motto hits the nail on the head: The measure of a Life is its Service,” Jeter said. “This university is a big part of this community and has an example to set on how we serve others, our service reflects our character.”

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