March 2012 Volunteer of the Month
Another surprise gift courtesy of our Philadelphia Phillies
People know all about the incredible work that the Phillies do to raise money for The ALS Association, including an amazing $893,033 in 2011 alone. What you might not know is that, in addition to their generous direct support, the Phillies have indirectly provided us with a volunteer so indispensible that we couldn’t put a price on her.
20 years ago, Rita Zambon was searching for a place to volunteer her time while she sat enjoying a Phillies game with a date. She will admit that there have been more memorable games, including most all of the 1993 and 2008 seasons, but this particular game turned out to be very significant.
At this particular game, Rita was flipping through the program when she saw an ad for the upcoming Phillies Phestival. She saw that the Greater Philadelphia Chapter office was located in Blue Bell and since it was near her office, it seemed like a great place to visit. That one ad led to two decades of helping The ALS Association grow while meeting many amazing patients and families along the way.
"From volunteering in the office to volunteering at our events, Rita is the type of volunteer you can count on in any situation – and you can count on her to do it with a smile." – Events Director Allison Walker
At first, Rita did administrative work in the office and over time, she helped make many of our events incredibly successful through her time and energy. She continued to find new ways to help and, as our Executive Director Jim Pinciotti said “she is willing to do anything she can for the Chapter. Nothing is ever too much for Rita.” She has even become a Community Ambassador, helping to spread awareness about ALS and how people can join her in supporting The Greater Philadelphia Chapter. At the time she walked into our office, Rita did not know much about ALS, but now she is one of our best spokespeople.
It may have been chance that brought Rita to us, but it wasn’t chance that kept her here. As Rita said, “It all comes down to the people at The ALS Association. We are all in this together. As a volunteer, I feel included in everything and that I am in this mission with everyone else.”
Part of the reason that Rita fits in so well is her willingness to not just do work, but to have fun. She has enjoyed the company of many special patients, including Rita Cortale, Wes Rose, and Gary Temoyan as well as becoming friends with Allison, Julie, and other Chapter staff through our events.
"Rita is one of my volunteers I can always count on. No matter the task – she tackles it with great effort and care." – Events and Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Telthorster
Six months out of the year, Rita is in her garden growing vegetables, including her own home made tomato sauce. She loves to cook and travel, including a trip out to Napa Valley, which is why she loved our events with the Napa Wine Association.
20 years after that momentous Phillies game, Rita is as much a part of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter as ever. She is happily married to Frank Grecco, who was lucky enough to be her date at that game. She has a daughter Adriana who is currently in the first grade and already comes in with her mom to help on volunteer assignments.
"Rita’s pleasant disposition and winning smile make it a pleasure to work with her and to be in her company. Her willingness to help us in a myriad of ways – in the office, at events, whatever we ask – speaks volumes about her! (and we all LOVE Adriana)." – Executive Director Jim Pinciotti
As a volunteer for two decades, Rita has helped our Chapter grow by leaps and bounds. Now, as a Community Ambassador and a wife and mother to a daughter with the same generous spirit, she is proving to be an inspiration to a whole new generation of supporters. Thank you Rita for playing such an important role in the fight against ALS and for including us in your wonderful life.