Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens SOV 21

Published: April 2, 2021

Honoree’s Name: Heather Goulet

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

When I asked the rest of our staff who they felt exemplified the Spirit of Volunteerism for the difficult year we have endured, the unanimous response was Heather Goulet. Heather has been an active volunteer at Casa Romantica Cultural Center & Gardens for 4 years, serving as a Greeter, Gift Shop Salesperson, Art Gallery Hostess and helping with our various Events. When those needs came to a screeching halt in March 2020, Heather was one of the first to step up and offer to help. She asked if she could help in our gardens while we were closed. She wanted to help keep them maintained and beautiful, looking forward to the day we could reopen our doors to guests. Any special assignments we had, from preparing a bulk mailing to organizing a cabinet – Heather has been one of the first to respond. She has continued to work tirelessly, sometimes with her husband, Arnold at her side, to keep our rose garden area looking fresh and beautiful. She also looks for other areas needing a bit of TLC. Since reopening our gardens to the public last May, Heather has committed many hours helping in the Gift Shop, at the Greeter station, and has embraced our new Casa Kids Club and enthusiastically welcomed children to Casa Romantica for this program. Last summer Heather stepped up to help with our annual Music Festival & Academy, a 12 day commitment to be here every morning welcoming the students, setting out snacks, making sure that each student had everything they needed and knew where to go. She remained onsite many days to be there to make sure they had everything they needed to take home and that they went home with the right person, sometimes staying late waiting for an errant parent. For our Dance Workshop she was also here most days either checking children in or out. Heather is now training to assist our Private Events Director giving wedding tours to prospective brides and grooms. Due of the pandemic, we are overwhelmed with couples planning their big day and Heather is happily taking on another task, while continuing with her gardening, Kids activities and gift shop greeter duties! With so many volunteers hesitant to return until we reach “Herd Immunity” Heather has been a super star exhibiting the Spirit of Volunteerism.

Honoree’s Name: Dottie Blietz

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Dottie Blietz was our 2020 Volunteer of the Year. Dottie has been volunteering at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens for over 10 years but over the past 3-4 years has embraced volunteering with great enthusiasm. When we started to expand our Gift Shop, she found her true calling. She spends hours and hours every month making sure the displays look great and we are purchasing the right items and pricing them at prices that sell. Dottie tirelessly works at keeping everything clean, organized and during the times we could not have the gift shop open, she set up tables of our best selling merchandise outside in the Courtyard, so we would be able to continue to bring in some much needed income. She is here for every event, staying late if needed to make sure everyone can make purchases. Dottie comes in whenever we have a need – and is an enthusiastic supporter of Casa Romantica’s Mission both online and in person. She goes above and beyond in all that she does for us and definitely exemplifies the Spirit of Volunteerism.
When our gardens were open and our buildings were closed, Dottie came up with the idea of putting tables of merchandise in the Courtyard so that we could continue to sell merchandise during the pandemic. It was very successful.
Honoree’s Name: Sue Bell

Award Category: Enrich

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Sue Bell, the volunteer with the Heart of Gold, helps in many ways. She was Casa Romantica’s Rookie of the Year for 2019 and has made a tremendous impact in a very short time. She volunteers as a greeter, in the Gift Shop, as a Gallery Hostess, and at Special Events. During the first part of the pandemic, when we were closed to the public, she volunteered to come clean & reorganize all of the display cases throughout our site. The cabinets had not been cleaned in over 7 years and it was a very long and tedious project. She polished silver, cleaned glassware and dusted everything. She removed glass doors to clean them. After 6 weeks, everything was clean and sparkling – just like new. Once we were allowed to reopen our site to the public – gardens only – in late May, Sue signed up for multiple greeter shifts per week, sometimes being at the greeter station for 6 hours a day. Knowing that many of our volunteers had decided not to return until herd immunity is reached; she tirelessly filled shifts and always said, “I am just a phone call away if you need me”. As time has gone by, she has continued to work two or three shifts a week and is training new volunteers (and some returning ones) at the greeter station. When she sees a need, she does whatever she can to fill it. Sue truly has the best interest of Casa Romantica at heart and has done so much to keep Casa Romantica a special place for visitors and volunteers alike during the past year and a half.