2012-10-26 / Neighbors
A shining example
Volunteer has a passion for service
Every time Jane Rozanski enters the Adult Day Program at the Camarillo Health Care District, she’s greeted with a song.
Loretta Koch, a volunteer with the group for 22 years, serenades the chief executive officer with “Here She Comes, Miss America.”
The Camarillo-based special district made Koch the eighth member of its Wall of Fame. The 85-year-old Brooklyn native was overcome with emotion during her acceptance speech at the Oct. 17 ceremony.
“I just want to tell you all, the whole 22 years has been fantastic,” said Koch, tearing up. “God bless you all. Thank you so much for this.”
Koch has lived in Camarillo for 42 years. She worked for GTE Directories, the company that produces the Yellow Pages, before retiring in December 1989.
Koch was presented with letters and certificates from Assemblymember Jeff Gorell, state Sen. Tony Strickland and county Supervisor Kathy Long. She also received a City of Camarillo pin from City Councilmember Mike Morgan, who was in attendance.
Koch volunteers primarily with the Adult Day Program, which helps area seniors who have moderate levels of dementia, cognitive frailties or physical disabilities.
“They’re sweethearts,” Koch said of the adults she cares for. “Each and every one of them are angels.”
All of those “angels”—nearly 30—were at the event and, true to her style, Koch gave special attention to each, making time for a smile, a hug, small talk and a cellphone picture with each of them.
Rozanski said it’s Koch’s bubbly personality that makes her stand out among the 100 volunteers at the organization.
“It’s really all about her attitude,” said Rozanski, who has been CEO of the group for 19 years. “She can break through to anyone no matter who it is. She’s a diamond in the district.”
In addition to the Adult Day Program, Koch has volunteered with the nail clinic and sold See’s candy to help raise funds.
Kara Ralston, chief operating officer for the Camarillo Health Care District, said Koch always makes time to check in on her as well.
“She’ll point a finger at me and ask, ‘Are you taking care of yourself?’’’ said Ralston, laughing. “She cares about everyone. She turns every single situation into something positive.”
Koch said she hopes to volunteer with the district for at least a few more years. She said the Adult Day Program is especially important.
“Without that program, I do wonder what would happen to the elderly,” Koch said. “Every moment I work with them, I’m delighted.