by Melissa Hess
Questions and photographs are from an interview Melissa Hess conducted with Vicente Ramos, SoWe Resident and Board Member in 2016
Q: How long have you lived in the neighborhood and why did you decide to move here?
A: I have been involved in this neighborhood since 2001 when we purchased a home on West Strawberry Street for my mother. Before that she lived with my wife and I. We found out about the house through some friends. I learned that even though two women can love each other, they don’t always fit in one kitchen. My mother raised 12 children and she always loved to cook so she was thrilled to have her own place and her own kitchen. A few years later we purchased the house across the street which has a side lot where we plant all kinds of flowers and vegetables. Just a couple years ago we bought a third house on West Strawberry Street which I manage and rent out. We work with Water Street Rescue Mission to provide a transitional living community for people coming out of homelessness.
Q: What do you “do” (profession, hobby, etc)?
A: I work in the financial services industry and and at a property management company. I am also chairperson of a non-profit organization called Care Force. Right now I am selling a variety of flowers and vegetables at my home to raise money for a service trip to Honduras through Care Force. Every year I take a group of volunteers overseas with the organization. On the service trips we provide medical services to people in need and also bring children’s clothing and other basic hygiene supplies to give away. All of the flowers that I sell to fundraise for the service trip are donated from Esbenshade’s Garden Center. Soon I will have pumpkins and mums for sale which are also donated from a farm in the area.
Q: What is a favorite memory or moment you recall from living on The Hill?
A: My favorite memory is when we bought the house for my mom and I saw how she was so happy to have her own place that she could call home.
Q: If you could change or improve something about the neighborhood, what would it be?
A: I would encourage people to keep the streets and sidewalks clean. I feel that we are making a difference in the neighborhood by making the outside of our home look beautiful. People tell me that they slow down when they pass by to check out all the plants and flowers in front of our house. I hear comments like “we love your place and the way it looks.”