Photos by Juan Guerra for Alive!, the Employees Club, and courtesy the City
ALIVE! FEATURE CONTENTS
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The Club and RLACEI complete their historic Club ‘Care Calls’ to every single Retired member individually
What began as a response to public comments in the media that reduced the lives of seniors to an economic equation has now become Club history.
Club CEO John Hawkins heard those comments and was upset. In response he wanted to reach out to every single Retired Member to let them know that they matter. Club staff and the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Inc. (RLACEI) quickly got on board, and the phone calling and personal outreach started in a project called Club “Care Calls.”
The phone calls to reach all (approximately) 8,000 Retired members began in late March and were completed in mid-April. Club “Care Calls’” was the biggest one-on-one outreach in the Club’s history.
“It’s the biggest, most ambitious outreach in the Club’s 92-year history to our beloved Retired Club Members,” said Club CEO John Hawkins. “And yet it’s also our most personal. Our Retirees matter to us, to the City and to the world. We wanted our Retired members to know that.
“The stories and reactions we heard from our seniors were moving to me and to all of us.”
Club callers also asked what the seniors needed immediately. In response, the Club arranged for and sent necessities including paper towels, toilet paper, facemasks, tissues, candy, groceries, beans, rice, ramen, and many other items.
“Looking back on it, it was one of our most important projects ever,” Hawkins continued. “As we said in every phone call, thanks for being part of the Club family.”
Retired Club Members who require immediate assistance can reach our callers at firstname.lastname@example.org (If it’s an emergency, dial 9-1-1).
What is your coronavirus story?
Tell us, and we’ll collect them and publish later. Go to: Share Your Story
Can you help your fellow City Employees and their families in need?
We give you that chance here: www.clubangels.org
Below are just some of the comments we’ve received. Comments of a more personal nature, and there were many, are being kept confidential.
Joe Bradley, Retired
Here’s Joe Bradley, with rice and beans delivered by Club Store Manager Lupe Lira. (Lupe set down the rice and beans and then stepped back so that she could maintain six feet of social distancing.)
Vivian Reyes, Retired
Vivian was extremely joyful that the Club call wasn’t a solicitor looking to bait her into coronavirus telemarketing donation.
“Well, since you asked,” she said, “do you have any See’s Candies in the backroom? I’d love some.” The Club sent her some See’s Candies.
Ava Stevens, Retired
Ava was beyond happy to hear from the Club when we called. “Thank you for taking the time to call,” she said. “I wasn’t aware how much the Club cared, and I look forward to hearing from you again.”
Nancy Hammoudian, Retired
“I just want to say thank you for receiving a phone call to check on all of us,” Nancy wrote. “That was so nice!
“Secondly, I am enjoying receiving Alive! every month. I really like that you are mailing out the paper. It’s much easier for me to read as a hard copy than on my iPad.
“I also just wanted to submit a photo of me enjoying the paper while following Mayor Garcetti’s Stay at Home orders in my backyard, which I refer to as El Patio Glen in Valley Glen, Calif.
“Thank you for all your kindness, discounts, news and a great Alive! newspaper.”
Bob Cutler, Retired, Public Works
“I was surprised to get the phone call,” Bob said. “A good surprise. I’m thankful that the Club did not forget about me. It’s not a bad idea to see if we’re still alive!”
Bob volunteers locally in the South Bay to help people prepare for job interviews. He says his volunteering project is on hold right now because of the pandemic, but he hopes to get back to volunteering soon.
“Alive! is my best connection to the City,” he says. “It keeps me in touch. So thanks for doing that.
Because of the phone call, “I’m glad to know that somebody knows I’m out here,” he continued. “Keep doing that. My retirement (income) is enough, but not for everyone. They need the Club.”
William Lillenberg, Retired, Planning
When Alive! visited with William for photographs (and kept six feet away due to social distancing), William said, “Wow, you came out to see me.
“I don’t need anything. My family takes care of me and brings me anything I need. But not everybody has family like I do. It’s good to check.”
William has quite a City family – two sons, Kevin and Mark, are Retired from the LAFD; one daughter, Amy, is Retired from the LAPD. A grandson, Joshua, is a current LAFD Captain.
“Thank you for coming out to see me.”
Alvin Williams, Retired, LAFD Truck Operator
“Thanks for thinking of me,” says Alvin Williams, who retired in 1987. “Getting your call was a good surprise!
“Nobody else (outside his family) has called to see if I was okay. I feel good about your call. It’s nice to have that help.
“Thanks for thinking of me. I’m glad you didn’t forget about me.”
Firefighter Carla Chatman, Retired, LAFD
“Sounds like a care package!” Carla said to Club Counselor Dylan Noel. “I was happy you weren’t a telemarketer trying to sell me a COVID-19 survivor kit.”
Carla had all the essential supplies and didn’t need anything at the moment. “I’m healthy and making my daily runs to the grocery store masked up, gloved up looking like a bandit during senior hours!
“I am doing well. I am so happy you called me.”
Officer III Gerald Legaspie, Retired, LAPD
“Thanks for coming down,” Officer Gerald Legaspie said as Alive! arrived (and kept our distance) to photograph him outside his house. He was glad the Club had called all Retirees to check on them, and to see if they needed anything.
“I was surprised that anyone would call, but it was good to hear from the Club,” he said. “They asked how I was doing, and if I needed anything. I’m doing okay.” Officer Legaspie requested a few small things, and the Club delivered them.
“It was very nice of you to call. It was a really great project.”
Christy Sherrod, Retired, DWP
“I was really surprised then I received the call. I appreciate the call so much. Thank you.”
Posted on the Club’s Facebook page. Pictured (above) with Club COO Roibert Larios.
Meet the Callers
Here’s a list of the Club staff who called all 8,000 Retired members to check on them. The project, which was accomplished in 15 days, was the biggest outreach in the Club’s history.
Mary Ann Urdiales