Two Ramona Chamber of Commerce volunteers were given special recognition at the January 29 Installation Dinner and Community Awards Gala for their contributions to the community in 2022.
Sean Hogan was honored as Volunteer of the Year and Tina Wright as Ambassador of the Year.
One of the six priests at Mt. View Community Church in Ramona, Hogan said he was surprised to win the award because he assumed he was attending the award ceremony to represent his church.
“I was emotional because I didn’t know I got it,” said Hogan. “Recognition of an award is nice, but it is a sign of what is being done in our city that is effective.”
Wright said he too was surprised to be thrust into the spotlight during an awards ceremony at The Barn Restaurant.
“I feel like I haven’t volunteered enough, but I am so grateful and appreciative to receive the award and be considered,” said Wright. “It feels good when you receive an award and people appreciate what you do. It just makes you want to do more.
Hogan and Wright spent considerable time in community service to earn their award, Chamber officials said.
Nancy Sapper, coordinator of the Room volunteers who honor Hogan, says she does a lot for her community and for Mt. View Community Church. Year after year, he helps pick up trash and manage the parking lot at the Ramona Country Fair, Sapper said.
“He has done many things for the community and the Chamber over the years, but the Volunteer of the Year Award is not cumulative, they are for the things he has helped for the Chamber and society in general in 2022,” said Sapper, a mortgage officer. lending department at C2 Financial in Ramona. “He’s such a selfless person, he gives so much.”
A lifelong resident of Ramona grew up on Mt. View Community Church but has served as pastor for the last 11 years. Much of the volunteering effort goes through Love Ramona, a group that started about five years ago with several churches helping out at the Country Fair and expanded to include anyone who wants to serve in the community, Hogan said.
“We have an emphasis on the church, which is basically the belief that if Mt. View Community Church is removed from the map, will the community care,” said Hogan. “As the pastor of my church I try to promote an active lifestyle in the community and serve.”
About 50 people signed up to help out at last year’s Country Fair, but Hogan took the lead in organizing. She has also worked with volunteers at the Ramona Chamber Christmas Tree Illumination event and helped with garbage collection duties on Hanson Lane. In the past, Love Ramona has also coordinated landscape maintenance, painting and other activities with local businesses.
“I represent a larger group of people who are investing in our city,” said Hogan, noting that his wife, Hannah, is very supportive of his community service. “It was an honor to receive the award, but the things that are accomplished can be attributed to every member of Love Ramona because they all played a part in it.”
Hogan said he was honored to receive the award given to his grandfather, Patrick Hogan, in the early 2000s. Patrick Hogan is a volunteer deputy for the Sheriff’s Department who also served the community by opening and closing the gates on the football and baseball fields in Wellfield Park many years ago, his grandson said.
“I just thought it was a cool correlation,” said Sean Hogan, who sometimes helped his grandfather build gates. “It’s about having a heart to help others and I think that was passed down from my grandfather.”
Katy Filek, chief ambassador for the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, presented Wright with the Ambassador of the Year Award, which recognizes her for her assistance at Chamber network mixers and other Chamber-sponsored events, Filek said.
“He was known for his time and service,” said Filek, owner of Cricket Wireless in Ramona. “He always asked if there was anything he could do to help. He always smiles. Not everyone can attend every meeting, but Tina makes time to serve and we really, really appreciate it.”
Wright, a Realtor with eXp Realty who sells residential properties and vacant lots, says he likes to donate as much time as he can to help Chamber. He says he enjoys volunteering at events like the annual Chamber Motorcycle Rally for a few hours and then sticking around to enjoy the event on its own.
A resident of Ramona since 2001, he said he joined Chambers a decade ago because he wanted to be part of the community and network with other local businesses. Wright said Chambers executive director, Joe Stupar, emphasized that it would be a good experience for him and his business when he signed on.
“I love working with Chamber and its wonderful people,” said Wright. “I love serving my community and getting to know people. It’s always fun when everyone gets together. You see people having fun, exchanging information and getting to know each other.”