Rancho, Bank of America make wishes come true

DOWNEY - Holiday cheer filled the rehabilitation hall once more as Bank of America and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center gathered together for their annual Holiday Family Adoption Party last week.

This year, 39 families were adopted by Bank of America branches and over 40 bank volunteers were on-hand to present the families with gifts for the holiday season.

The 19th Annual Patient Family Adoption Program brings hope for the holidays to families in need and since its inception Bank of America has adopted hundreds of Rancho families.

After enjoying a plentiful dinner, the families are presented with gifts that fulfilled their holiday wishes, including; microwaves, televisions, other various household items and of course toys.

"It is always moving to be able to count on the spirit of kindness in our community and we appreciate Bank of America for participating every year since the program started," said Debbie Tomlinson, Rancho Director of Volunteer and Support Services. "These families do not have much and these gifts mean a lot to them this time of year."

Bank of America has been supporting Rancho for the past 40 years and received the hospital's highest honor, the Amistad Award, in 2007 for its service to patient families in need.

There was a brief bittersweet moment during the evening when Rancho hospital officials honored Roger Ferguson, Bank of America Vice President and Co-Chair for the Greater Los Angeles Community Volunteers, with a special plaque for his service throughout the years. Roger will be retiring this coming February.

Roger has been involved with Rancho Los Amigos for the past 14 years and has been a major advocate for the adoption program. His goal each year is to have as many families adopted by bank associates as possible. Last year, 43 families were adopted - the most in the history of the program.

He is also the driving force behind the bank's volunteer efforts through the Bank of America Community Volunteers Program, which has given over 56,000 hours of volunteer service throughout Los Angeles this year. In 2012, he was recognized as the Bank of America Volunteer Service Award recipient for Los Angeles for his depth of service and for his ability to motivate others to serve.

"It has been an honor to work with so many dedicated volunteers from throughout the Bank of America network," said Roger. "People say I am an inspiration but it is really the volunteers and the passion of nonprofits leaders that serves as an inspiration to me."

Although he is retiring, Roger is still committed to volunteerism. He plans to serve as a board member on one of the bank's retiree networks helping to increase the volunteer efforts of its members as well as continue his support to Rancho Los Amigos and other bank volunteers.

"To see the joy on the children's faces and to know that we are able to help make their holidays brighter is just heartwarming," said Roger. "I always walk away with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude from Rancho Los Amigos and am amazed every year by the passion of everyone who makes the program possible."

Roger started his career with Bank of America in 1966 and will be retiring after 48 years with the company. He has also been a longtime supporter of other nonprofits, including the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Susan G. Komen, March of Dimes, United Way, Midnight Mission, Skid Row Housing, Habitat for Humanity, and Pasadena Heritage.

********** Published: Dec. 26, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 37