For Erica Ramirez, volunteering is second nature. She doesn’t hesitate to help others, and she seeks out every opportunity to donate her time and effort.
Ramirez’s hard work and dedication was recently recognized at Lake Area United Way’s annual Partner Appreciation Luncheon, where she was awarded 2018 Lake County Volunteer of the Year.
“I was thrilled to be invited to the United Way Partnership Awards Luncheon. I received an email and letter stating that I was being awarded the Volunteer of the Year award, and I was emotional and speechless when that came thro-ugh,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez started her volunteer- ing endeavors when she joined LAUW’s BP Whiting refinery campaign committee. As the storehouse administrative assistant for BP, Ramirez hosted several BP events for LAUW including a taco lunch and a hygiene kit packing day. She also represented BP at LAUW’s annual Pack-a-Palooza.
“I was a line leader, demonstrating how to properly pack nutritious meals being boxed and shipped out for the needy,” Ramirez said.
Outside of her efforts with BP, Ramirez has volunteered directly with LAUW. Ramirez’s daughters, Caitlin and Alicia Ortiz, have also joined in on her volunteering journey.
Ramirez said, “I love that I can get my daughters involved. They have the love of wanting to help as well. They love the experience.”
Ramirez and her daughters have participated in many of LAUW’s volunteering events and plan to sign up for more.
“I volunteered with my daughter, Caitlin, for the Thanksgiving Giveaway. We passed out Thanksgiving dinner baskets to the struggling working families who signed up for help during the holidays,” Ramirez said. “Also, Alicia and I volunteered to pack care kits for the homeless.”
The staff at LAUW believe Ra-mirez is a great volunteer asset to their organization. She has gone above and beyond to support their efforts.
“I love helping others as much as I can. I love knowing that I can do this, the feeling of warmth from the people who are simply grateful for the kindness and help,” Ramirez said. “I volunteer so much of my time to help people and I was honored to be recognized for it. The whole experience was truly amazing and such an honor.”
Ramirez wants LAUW to know she is thankful for the opportunities they offer her, and will continue to help others whenever, wherever and however she can.