Effective March 28, Troy Garron will be resigning as a Halifax Selectman after 32 years and 11 terms. Garron will also be celebrating another big milestone that day – his eightieth birthday. Garron was born in Cook County Hospital in Chicago and was raised in Argo, Illinois where he was one of 11 children. “My grandmother and mother had a great influence on me as well as my older brother,” Garron explained. The older brother mentioned is Larry Garron, a member of the AFL Hall of Fame, who played for the Patriots from 1960 through 1968. Troy, himself, played on a championship football team in high school that went 13-0. He also made the Olympic preliminaries in the 100-yard dash. Garron was in his third year at the University of Illinois when he was drafted in 1963 during the Vietnam War. He served three years.
In 1969, he moved to Massachusetts where he lived with his brother Larry in Framingham. “Larry had a martial arts school, and I went down to work out one day in one of his classes and I met Marilyn there at that time,” Garron said of the first time meeting his wife. “Of course, it wasn’t in fashion for blacks and whites to get married at that time; over 52 years ago,” he said of their marriage.
Garron spent much of his career in law enforcement with a focus on rehabilitating troubled kids including his work as the Commissioner of Youth Welfare. “I was one of the individuals keeping kids off the street,” he said. Garron also worked as a probation officer. “I love working with kids,” he said. During his time as a probation officer in Springfield, Garron was part of a program that paired troubled kids with college students to hopefully show them another way of life.
It was his love for helping kids that ultimately led him to Halifax in 1973. Garron and his wife took their two young children and moved to Halifax so Garron could begin working for the Greater Boston YMCA. Garron worked for the YMCA Juvenile Justice Program out of Halifax where he was in charge of 58 youths who were being held for court or serving time. Garron said the goal of the program was “to try to show them a different kind of lifestyle.” He continued, “Some of those kids had never been out of Boston and had never seen grass… we had classes, we had sports for them, counseling.” The program was closed in the early 1980s. Following his tenure there, Garron began working for the Plymouth County House of Corrections.
Garron and Marilyn purchased a home in Halifax and their now four children attended Halifax Elementary School and eventually Silver Lake. Garron said of Halifax, “I liked the quaintness of it; it reminded me of the town I grew up in which was just outside of Chicago. It was a community… everybody looked out for everybody.” Garron said that he wanted his children to be involved in sports and Halifax had recently started a soccer program, so he volunteered to coach despite having little knowledge of the sport. He ended up coaching soccer for 12 years. Garron also founded Halifax’s first track and field club. “We had really good success for seven years,” Garron said of the club. They traveled all over the State including Boston where they participated in the State Police Tournaments. “It was an enjoyable thing; I loved it,” Garron explained.
Garron, who earned his master’s degree in education with a concentration in personnel management from Cambridge College, first served Halifax as a member of the Wage and Personnel Board for three years. He would also serve the town as the representative to the MBTA, the representative to the Plymouth County Advisory Board, and as the representative to the Plymouth Old Colony Planning Council. He would hold those positions for 20 to 30 years each.
Garron said that what first sparked his interest in running for selectman was a town meeting at which different department heads were stating their goals. He said the head of the Recreation Department spoke at length and made a request for $1,000 to redo the baseball field and track. Garron recalls a resident saying that they did not care if the fields were redone as they did not have school aged children. From there, Garron said he wanted to have a hand in policy making in the town and was told that running for selectman would be one way to do that. He first ran in 1989 when he was defeated by Candace Kniffen. Determined, Garron ran again in 1990 becoming the first Black selectman in Halifax serving alongside Kniffen. Over the years, Garron has become a mainstay on the Halifax Board of Selectmen, serving alongside many others.
Asked what he hopes for Halifax in the future Garron said, “I wish them all the world. I just hope they will be more conscientious of the senior citizens in town. They do well with the schools – the elementary school and the baseball programs and the playgrounds but the senior citizens, we need a senior citizen center – a new center,” Garron said. He noted that the current space for the senior citizens is antiquated and not handicap accessible. “I hope that the town prospers… we are a conservative town and hopefully they will loosen up a little bit,” he continued.
Garron said that some of the many things he particularly looked forward to as a Selectmen were the dedications of flower gardens to different people, clean-up days, and Eagle Scout ceremonies for the Boy Scouts. Garron said his motto has always been fair, firm, and consistent. “I tried to be fair to all the issues that came before the Board no matter how I felt about the individual, firm once I had enough information to make a decision, and consistent in the first two,” Garron explained. He said that he prides himself on respecting others saying, “I realize that every decision I make affects somebody’s life.”