Gary Rossio – Helping veterans through health care
By Emily Sorensen
Gary Rossio has turned a career in health care administration into a passion for helping veterans.
“It’s a great opportunity to serve people,” said Rossio of his work helping veterans readjust to civilian life. Throughout his career and in his volunteering, Rossio has helped veterans of war learn about the benefits due to them and how to apply for them, how to get a job in the civilian market, and much more.
Rossio was honored in June by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who named Rossio “2012 Veteran of the Year” for the 75th Assembly District.
“As a combat Marine veteran, I know first-hand the critical importance of providing needed services to those who have honorably served our country,” said Fletcher in a press release. “With local leadership, coordinated community-based responses can help ensure all veterans live with the dignity and respect they deserve. I am pleased to honor Gary for his commitment to San Diego’s veteran community.”
Rossio, who has lived in Poway with his family since 1996, began his lifelong work with health care during his four years on active duty in the Air Force, where he worked in military medicine, partially because he scored high in health care on a career aptitude test. “Well, health care sounds interesting,” Rossio said of his decision to enter the field.
After leaving the military in 1975, Rossio began his civilian work with veterans by going to work in administration for the VA hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and worked in various VA medical centers around the country, including La Jolla and San Diego, until he retired from the VA in 2009.
After retiring, Rossio still wanted to help out his fellow veterans, especially veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who are most likely to be unaware of their benefits and need immediate help to readjust to a civilian work life. He co-founded the San Diego Veterans Coalition, a nonprofit organization that works together with other veterans organizations, community service providers and interested professionals to enhance the support of veterans. Rossio serves as co-chair of the Veterans Employment Task Force, where he helps veterans learn to write resumes, apply for civilian jobs, and works to raise awareness for why businesses should hire veterans. Rossio also is trying to create intern opportunities for veterans in local businesses, as well as making sure all veterans leaving the military are registered with the state.
“My goal is to make sure they’re aware of their benefits, know how and where to get those benefits, and how to get and be prepared for a job,” said Rossio of his volunteer work with Veterans Coalition.
In his spare time, Rossio and his wife, Beverly, keep busy with volunteering for athletic and performing arts activities. Both volunteered for the Poway High School choir from 1999 to 2012. Rossio also coached the high school’s JV roller hockey team, as well as Little League baseball and girls softball.
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