2019 Volunteer of the Year: LJ Fenton
LJ Fenton has served faithfully at Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital since 2005. We are so grateful for more than 1200 hours he’s freely given. Even with a full-time and part-time job, LJ prioritizes part of his limited free time to serving our families on Saturday evenings. The mission of RMH is in LJ’s heart and soul. He always shows up early and comes ready to serve and connect with families using the House. Not only is he always striving to perfect his already fluent Spanish skills with our Spanish-speaking families, but he also attempts to learn greetings in as many languages as possible to be able to give a welcome to each family in their native tongue whenever possible. He ensures new family members understand what is available to them in the Ronald McDonald House by giving a wonderful, thorough tour. LJ is very personable with the other volunteers and is always willing to help new volunteers acclimate and feel comfortable volunteering at RMH. As one of the House Managers commented, “He’s one of the most selfless, caring volunteers I have ever been blessed to know. I can count on him each shift to make RMH at TCH a home away from home.”
Volunteers of the Month
Holcombe House – Cheryl Fort
Cheryl is a warm and inviting volunteer who always has a smile on her face. She is willing to do anything to help out during her shift and makes an effort to form meaningful relationships with the families. She is an avid Houston sports fan (Go Astros!) and loves kids of all ages. Her dedication to RMH Houston of over 10 years makes her a natural leader on her shift for other volunteers and visitors. She is eager to do whatever is necessary to keep the House running smoothly and ensure that families are happy. Thanks for your wonderful service, Cheryl – we are lucky to have you at Holcombe House!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Laurel Burrin
Laurel is such a giving person and does so much to support Ronald McDonald House Houston! She’s part of our Pizza Day crew and we can always depend on her to jump in to help sort pizza as soon as she arrives. Her empathy, compassion, and cheerfulness when speaking with patients and families makes her a great representative of RMH. We are so glad she chooses to share her time with us!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Joshua Atkins
Joshua has been part of our team for a while now and honestly, we don’t know what we would do without him! His overall courteous, kind, empathetic and compassionate demeanor when dealing with both the patients and their parents is always obvious in everything he does and in how much he gives of himself to the families and the organization! With Joshua, we know that even if it’s a holiday, he will be here to support our staff and make life easier for the families. Joshua is a compassionate and amazing human being. Just one example his dedication and excellence: One Sunday, Father’s Day, after spending the day with his own father, Joshua drove from College Station just so that he could cover his evening volunteer shift! When I asked him why he had done that, he replied that, there are Dads’ here too, and the least he could do for them on their day, was to bake them some fresh cookies and spend time with them, too! We are blessed that Joshua is part of our team!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Karena Hauter
Karena is the perfect volunteer to nominate for volunteer of the month to kick off this new year. Karena began volunteer not knowing what to expect but she tackled every task with a smile and willingly. Karena’s can do attitude and smiling face are a welcome treat for the families and staff. Karena even handled having multiple managers in the beginning of her volunteering with style and grace. There is no task that Karena isn’t willing to tackle knowing that our families will benefit from her hard work.
Holcombe House – Lynne Clark
Lynne has been a dedicated Holcombe House volunteer for almost 5 years! She is always willing to help wherever needed and she is fantastic with our families and kids. In addition to her Friday afternoon placement at Holcombe House, Lynne also serves as a liaison between ADPi Houston Moms and Ronald McDonald House Houston – increasing awareness for our mission and connecting us with potential volunteers and donors in the community. Lynne has also helped with events in the past and on holidays at the House, which we appreciate greatly. Thank you, Lynne, for your wonderful service to RMH Houston and Holcombe House!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Alan Pham
Alan is so dependable! We can always count on him to be here for his shift, and he always picks up a substitute shift if he has to reschedule. He’s cheerful and happy to help with anything we need. Alan does a wonderful job taking care of the Family Rooms and greeting families with a smile. We are so glad he’s part of our Ronald McDonald House team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Anne Pierrat
Anne is an amazing volunteer! Each time she comes to her volunteer shift, she often is prepared with some type of special (extra) activity for the families to do. These activities engage the patients and their families as well as bring some type of normalcy to them while they are in the hospital. Anne’s disposition is always upbeat and energetic. She interacts with the patients and their families and makes them feel welcome in all of our RMHH areas. When baking our famous Ronald McDonald chocolate chip cookies, Anne takes the time to visit the patients in their rooms to deliver the freshly baked cookies, just so the kids can enjoy them while they’re still hot! Indeed, Ronald McDonald House is blessed to have Anne as part of our team!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Monica Clark
Monica came to us through a partnership but quickly made RMH her family. Monica’s care and concern for our families and the service that we provide for them is unmatched. Monica always has a smile on her face and is ready to complete any and all tasks asked of her. Monica took the lead and leads the team of volunteers in serving pizza with a smile, restocking the lounges, and preparing fresh linen packets. Monica is a pleasure to work with and an easy nominee for volunteer of the month.
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Holcombe House – Annette Beltran
In her time serving as a Social Work volunteer intern at Ronald McDonald House, Annette has grown tremendously and has exceeded all of our expectations. She comes in everyday with a positive attitude and ready to assist others. Annette places priority on family member care and creatively thinks of solutions to assist families with limited resources. Additionally, Annette shows initiative and is often doing task without the need for instruction or supervision. We are so grateful for her hard work getting Family Support Services up and running!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Denise Babecki
Denise is a dedicated volunteer who has given so much of her time to RMH Houston. She is so dependable, often offers to cover extra shifts, and even stays late to help longer than she was scheduled for when we are short-handed. She participates in RMH special events as well, and does a great job manning our front desk and welcoming families. We love her willingness to help with anything that needs to be done, and we’re thankful that she’s part of our team at RMH Texas Children’s Hospital!
Ronald McDonald Family Room MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – MyKayla Searles-Houston
MyKayla is such an amazing and giving volunteer! Her dedication to our organization and our mission is admirable and very telling of where her heart is when it comes to serving the patients and parents that Ronald McDonald House supports. Due to her current studies, MyKayla has experienced many schedule changes throughout the time she has been our volunteer, yet, each time she has simply requested a change of volunteer shift so that she may continue her amazing work with us. She has never allowed those changes to become an obstacle, but rather, an opportunity to be involved in different capacities with our organization. This volunteer has such a sweet and gentle demeanor, she is perfect for the population that we serve and is loved by both the kiddos and their families. We are so glad to have MyKayla as part of our team at RMH MD Anderson!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Jane Slusher
Jane came in with the new group of Junior League ladies and caught on quickly to the level of service we try to provide for our families. Jane provides service with a smile and is eager to help out with any and all tasks asked of her. Jane is very appreciative of any and all tasks needed that will help us provide the best service possible for our families here at CMHH. We are thankful for her service and time, so what better way than to nominate her as our April Volunteer of the Month!
Holcombe House – Kaye Barnes
Kaye has been a dedicated volunteer at Holcombe House for eight years. She is willing to help wherever needed and she is fantastic with families and kids. Kaye always has a smile on her face an encouraging word to share. She exhibits her love for her own family in the many ways she assists families staying at Holcombe House – often restocking snacks so no one goes hungry, helping give tours so new visitors feel welcome and sharing her upbeat attitude with everyone she meets. Thank you, Kaye, for your wonderful service to RMH Houston and Holcombe House. We are so lucky to have you as a part of our family!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – James Grigsby
James is a dedicated volunteer who truly exemplifies our mission. He’s so dependable and we can always count on him to be here for his shift, on time and ready to help! James is a wonderful volunteer trainer and has spent numerous shifts welcoming new volunteers to RMH Houston and showing them how to keep our Family Rooms at their best. He shows such cheerfulness, kindness, and respect to our RMH families and he’s truly an asset to our volunteer team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Ann Smith
Ann’s easy-going attitude is contagious! She comes to her shift calm, collected and ready to tackle anything that comes her way. She is organized, thoughtful and ambitious, whether it be baking cookies or working on special projects. Ann’s attentive, friendly and optimistic personality makes her the best candidate for the May Volunteer of the Month!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Kate Lummis
Kate came over with the new group of Junior League ladies this year and she quickly bought into our mission. She is very supportive of our program, and provides collaborative, compassionate service with excellence. Kate serves pizza to our families with a smile, and goes above and beyond by even helping sort and put away our Wednesday supply delivery. We are pleased to nominate Kate for May’s volunteer of the month because she more than deserves the recognition.
Holcombe House – Rubi Avila
Rubi is a hardworking and dedicated volunteer at Holcombe House and has always been overtly committed to the mission of RMH. She is willing to help wherever needed during her shifts and often assists by translating on the phones or in person with families. Being a cancer survivor herself, she works hard to offer empathy and support to the families as much as possible, in meaningful ways. Her longtime service to RMH Houston makes her a leader on her shift for other volunteers and visitors. She is wonderful with everyone she encounters and always has a smile on her face! Thanks for your amazing service, Rubi – we are so lucky to have you!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Kham Vargas
Kham has become a RMH expert and she tackles every volunteer task with such confidence and professionalism! She shows so much initiative and anticipates our families’ needs, and she’s quick to handle anything that needs to be done without anyone having to ask. Kham keeps our kitchens clean, stocked, and well-organized, and she’s a great team player when working with other volunteers. Her compassion, enthusiasm, and eagerness to help brightens the day for everyone here, and we’re so glad she’s part of our team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Mary Porter
It is always such a pleasure to have Mary in the Ronald McDonald kitchen! She consistently has a smile on her face and has the best stories to tell when it comes to her international travels and experiences. She is ready and willing to do anything that comes her way, whether it be making cookies or finding the laundry room to ensure others have clean volunteer vests for their shift. It has been such a blast getting to know her and I always look forward to having her as a volunteer! We are so very excited to nominate her for June RMH MD Anderson Volunteer of the Month!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Steve and Laurie Weston
Steve and Laurie Weston are a dynamic volunteer duo! They come in eager to complete the tasks asked of them without any hesitation. They smile and greet the families, interact with the families with compassion, and do it all with excellence. The Weston’s understand the value of the volunteer role and will always make up shifts if they are able to make their regularly scheduled shift. Thank you Steve and Laurie!
Holcombe House – Justo Jaimes
We recognize Justo for all the work and support he has provided at Holcombe House during his internship this summer. Over the past several weeks, we have been able to not only see his professional growth as a student, but we have also been able to witness how he has integrated into the culture of the house. Everyday he comes in with a wonderful and positive attitude ready to tackle the challenges of the day. Additionally, he has gone above and beyond to help families at RMH have a special experience during their time with us by doing things such as reading to our young friends, to getting families access to special events, and resources in our great city. Justo, please know that we can never thank you enough for your time and the services that you have provided to our patients, families and staff.
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Charlotte Foster
Charlotte is an amazing volunteer! She started with us as an intern and has been incredibly dedicated to RMH since day one. She is genuinely happy to help anywhere, and with anything we need. During each shift, she works cheerfully and diligently, and welcomes families to RMH in such a supportive and comforting way. Her kindness to families, patients, staff, and fellow volunteers is so wonderful to see, and we are so glad to have had her representing RMH for the past year.
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Michelle Atkinson
Michelle Atkinson is an extraordinary volunteer. In her 9 and a half years of volunteering with Ronald McDonald House we have known Michelle to be faithful, compassionate, cheerful, and supportive. She sincerely cares for the families of Ronald McDonald House and goes above and beyond what is expected as a volunteer. During an emergency, when a staff member had to leave, we left Michelle in charge of the house. This is how dependable and capable she is. Michelle will complete any task given to her with a smile and always does it with excellence. The hospital staff know Michelle and greet her by name – this is such a great example of collaborating with our partners. Ronald McDonald House is better because of Michelle. We are so grateful for her!
Holcombe House – Candelaria “Carmen” Carranza
Carmen has become a part of the Holcombe House family during her internship this summer and we are so sad to see her leave! Her dedication to the RMH mission and our families is unwavering in everything she does and it has not gone unnoticed. Even when it comes to serving lunch or cleaning tables, she takes extra care and concern to ensure all Holcombe House residents have a clean place to call home. She has been instrumental in making our Home away from Home a comfortable and welcoming environment for all who enter, and we appreciate it so much! Carmen, we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors in school and your career – you will be greatly missed!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital -Diana Vo
Diana is a rockstar volunteer! She has a knack for multi-tasking – she cheerfully welcomes families and assists with check-outs all morning while she’s simultaneously restocking, cleaning, and organizing. She’s a great team player and works well with other volunteers on her shift. Diana has such great attention to detail and an impressive work ethic, and we can always depend on her to have finished every single task before the end of her shift. She often picks up sub shifts and is willing to help out whenever we need her. We’re thankful to have her as a part of our team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Vera Burrell
Vera is an amazing volunteer! Vera’s beautiful smile, her compassionate heart, and listening ear are what sets her apart from others. Vera goes above and beyond for all the patients, from making sure all of our RMHH areas are super clean and presentable to helping out with food activities and delivering goodies door-to-door if necessary! Her enthusiastic demeanor, genuine welcoming spirit, patience, and attention to detail make Miss Vera a favorite of the patients and their families. We are so thankful that Vera Burrell is part of our Ronald McDonald team, she is an integral part of our success and fulfilling our mission!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Edgar Escalante
Edgar chose to volunteer due to his personal experience with a family member here at CMHH. During the family member’s time here, Edgar learned his way around RMHH at CMHH and therefore only needed the behind-the-scenes information when he joined us as a volunteer. Edgar comes in ready to help, not just on his designated day, but wherever and whenever we need him. Edgar spends his first, third, and fifth Friday evenings here at CMHH making sure that are families are well taken care of. Our families truly benefit from his care and concern for them through Ronald McDonald House. We are very thankful to have him here with us and look forward to many more years of service from him!
Holcombe House – Charles Armstrong
Charles is an amazing volunteer! He goes above and beyond helping for long hours and always rushes to attend our families’ needs with a smile. Charles is the definition of a team player. He gets along great with everyone. He is funny, smart, friendly, helpful and always makes volunteering fun for those around him. We are very lucky to have Charles Armstrong as part of the RMHH Family!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Sherry Boss
Sherry is such a dedicated volunteer! She not only volunteers at TCH every week, but also volunteers at Holcombe House and helps with RMH special events. She’s a great team player and works so well with our staff and other volunteers, and Sherry is an excellent trainer to our new volunteers. She’s very kind, helpful, and compassionate when interacting with families and patients. She hold our RMH spaces to the highest standards and keeps them consistently clean and inviting for families. We are so lucky to have her on our team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Tiffany Kofroth
Tiffany has been an amazing volunteer for Ronald McDonald Family Room at MDA! From the moment she walks in until it is time to close down for the day, this volunteer is constantly doing something for the families; be it keeping our areas clean and tidy for the families to enjoy, or serving pizza with a smile! For a long time we didn’t have an operational washing machine yet our clean volunteer vests never ran out; I happened to be on the 9th floor, late one Friday evening and discovered that Tiffany would take the dirty vests to the 6th floor to get them washed and used her own money to accomplish this task. This is the type of person Tiffany is, she gives from her heart, she does without asking anything in return and she does it with a smile! The patients and the families look forward to Tiffany’s shifts as they love talking to her (she’s an awesome listener!) and they have expressed their gratitude for her kindness and welcoming smile when they walk into our RMHH areas. RMHH is blessed to have Tiffany as part of our team!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Hugo Ramirez
Hugo came in to his first shift letting staff know that he was going to get on the volunteer of the month board, and did everything to ensure that he would. Hugo became familiar with RMH inside CMHH as one of our families, but quickly treated our space like home, looking after its cleanliness and staff. We were thrilled and appreciative when he decided to volunteer his time to make sure that our families are served with a smile and compassion from someone who has walked in their shoes. Hugo comes in ready for the task at hand and anything extra needed or asked of him. It is because of volunteers like Hugo that we are able to continue to provide a clean, welcoming space for the families that come through Ronald McDonald House inside CMHH. We are thankful for his time and efforts.
Holcombe House – Johnna Kokenge
Johnna is an extremely diligent volunteer, always looking for ways to help out around the House. She makes sure the House is well taken care of every time she is here. She is wonderful with the families and always takes the lead in showing new volunteers what to do on shift. She is always a huge Mogie lover and never skips an opportunity to ‘rub his belly’ when she is passing him in the back office area!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Alison Holmes
Alison is so compassionate with families. She has a very sweet nature about her, and she is just so calming and positive. She’s wonderful about purposefully signing up for the shifts where we need help the most, and she’s willing to help with anything we need. Alison is super dependable and takes on her volunteer tasks with confidence and professionalism. We are so happy she’s part of our team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Trent Clark
Trent has the most giving and organic disposition of anyone we know. Each time he comes in to volunteer, he immediately goes to work and does not stop until it’s time to clock out. His giving nature is so welcomed by the patients and their families and his words of encouragement make a huge difference to all who stop by any of our RMHH areas. Trent is a natural listener; consequently, the families seek him out and look forward to the days when he volunteers! RMHH is truly lucky to have Trent on our team; no matter what we ask of him to do, he immediately goes to work on it, be it transporting heavy tables, knocking on doors to invite families to an activity, or baking the most delicious chocolate chip cookies and delivering them to each child who is unable to leave their room, Trent is always eager and willing to help.
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Natalie Miroballi
Natalie is a volunteer who is full of life. She is dedicated to serving the families of CMHH in any way possible. Natalie’s zest for life alongside her eager approach to complete the duties assigned make for a lively Tuesday night shift. We appreciate Natalie’s efforts in making sure the lounges and the families are taken care of in the best way possible. Natalie is definitely an asset to the volunteer team her at CMHH and we want her to know it has not gone unnoticed. Thank you Natalie!