Patsy Garrett Watson loves making connections. Fortunately for Farmville, she has spent much of the past 45 years dedicated to making life better for her community through those connections.

“Neighbors to me means anyone who is in need,” Watson said. “I understand that most people are really doing the best that they can.”

Watson moved to Farmville while in high school, where she met the love of her life and her best friend, Gene, her husband of 47 years. After graduating from Longwood, she soon realized a business career wasn’t for her after all. Instead she devoted herself to her community—exactly the kind of work the Humanitarian Award honors.

Watson is a founder and leader of the Interfaith Collective, which seeks to break down barriers between people from differing religious backgrounds. She is also a founder and one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Southside YMCA, where she has served as president of the board and in other various leadership positions over the past 30 years.

“I can’t get away from it,” Watson said. “It’s so wonderful to go in and see people from all walks of life on the treadmills together, making friends and meeting people that they wouldn’t normally see.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, she helped create Farmville Cares, which brings local resources together to aid residents. Whether it was staffing a volunteer hotline, delivering groceries, manning vaccine clinics or organizing online town halls, Watson’s boundless energy and commitment helped keep the effort going.

“If there’s anything good that’s come out of the pandemic, it’s that people may have a better understanding of how we need to be better connected with each other,” Watson said.

The Humanitarian Alumni Award honors alumni who, through their outstanding involvement and commitment, have enriched the lives of others and improved the welfare of their communities. The award recognizes personal achievements and humanitarian ideals that reflect a selfless dedication to service for the good of others.

Do you know an alum like Patsy? Nominate them for an Alumni Award today!

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