Servant’s Touch

Gary Stevenson has spent decades devoted to helping others. Retired from the military, he now finds purpose in improving lives for local children and teens by serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and working with other like-minded organizations.

by Michelle Floyd

Growing up with six siblings—and being placed right in the middle—Gary Stevenson was always helping someone with something or receiving assistance himself.

“Being from a big-family atmosphere led to my desire to help others,” he said.

Whenever he finds time away from work in the emergency management department at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the retired Army sergeant can be found passing out food to those in need, delivering school supplies to students or advocating for kids in the foster care system.

“I’m inherently a giver,” Stevenson said. “I want people’s lives to be better. God has blessed me to be a blessing, and I always want to help someone, no matter what.”

As Stevenson grew up in Virginia, one could often find him being helpful by cutting grass or blowing snow. Later, while serving for 24 years in the United States Army, he volunteered with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to mentor students and take them out on the weekends to give their parents a break. Recently, Stevenson began serving with the Men In Touch organization through Newton County School System’s Rise Academy, which aids in getting needed supplies to students. The organization also held a necktie drive for students to wear to job interviews.

“I’m inherently a giver. I want people’s lives to be better.”

Gary Stevenson

“I love Covington and Newton County, and I love serving my community,” said Stevenson, who has lived here since 2004. “I want to add to my community, and I want everyone to be well.”

The man with a servant’s heart focuses much of his involvement on Alcovy CASA, a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of foster children in Newton and Walton counties. Stevenson has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for about 17 years, as his interest was sparked after reading of a young girl in foster care who was dying while he was serving a tour in Germany. “It saddened me,” Stevenson said. When he returned to Georgia, he looked up how to volunteer with the Division of Family and Children Services and came across Alcovy CASA. Once Stevenson gets assigned to a case, he meets with the child at least once a month to give advice or just to provide support, along with checking on court and other records. Other Alcovy CASA responsibilities include reporting to judges, as necessary, and sometimes attending sporting or other special events.

(L TO R) Lindsay dycus, Alcovy CASA executive director and Gary stevenson

“We’re a voice for kids. We’re an advocate for them,” said Stevenson, who has worked with approximately 12 cases over the years. “[DFCS] caseworkers have a big load, so this is like a safety net for DFCS so things don’t fall through the cracks.”

Generally, Alcovy CASA volunteers work with children whose ages range from infancy to 17 years old, and some may be assigned to work with one child for several years. They provide representation in the courtroom and the community.

“The goal is to meet them where they are. I want them to try to have a sense of normalcy,” said Stevenson, who offers children talks about everything from faith to general advice. “I’m not getting paid for this. I want their lives to be better. They are not getting a hand out but a hand up.”

Sharon Gustafson, Newton County Advocate Coordinator at Alcovy CASA, appreciates how Stevenson takes an honest and straightforward approach with his assigned children, all while remaining compassionate and relatable.

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“Gary’s heart for children in foster care is evident by the impact that he has had on the lives of the young men in foster care for whom he has advocated,” she said, adding that children with a Alcovy CASA volunteer generally spend less time in foster care. “It is a privilege to have Gary as a part of our Alcovy CASA program.”

Stevenson plans to retire soon but will continue to volunteer at various organizations. He also hopes to get more men of color involved in Alcovy CASA and remains dedicated to helping his son, Malcolm, a student at Kennesaw State University, find his way into more volunteer work.

“I want to show him the gift and how to give back to this world,” Stevenson said. “You have to have a desire to help.”  

For more information or to volunteer with Alcovy CASA, visit

Click here to read more stories by Michelle Floyd.

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