Richard started working at Damiano in 2011 after volunteering for two years. He was required to do 80 hours of community service as a condition of his parole from prison in 2009, and he loved the work so much that he continued as a volunteer until the building maintenance coordinator position became available. Other Damiano staff encouraged him to apply, so he did and was hired.
According to Richard, Damiano "fills a lot of needs and necessities that the community at this point, and before, couldn't afford to have."
When asked what motivates him, Richard's immediate response is, "Humility." He pauses, and then continues, "One of the things that I've learned over the years of being here, that I've found I'm no better than anyone else that visits here. And I also see the need to be able to be a helpful person to those in need."
What has changed for Richard due to COVID-19? He reflects on the building being closed, so the primary service available is meals. He has concern for the other unmet needs: "That's a question that I wrestle with every day right now...there's still people that need household goods, clothing, things like that. A lot of times I don't get to interact with them like I normally do."
According to Richard, someone who has never been to the Damiano Center should know: "This is one of the most vital places that can offer those that are in need some sort of help or assistance with different things. For instance, like the soup kitchen for those that are running short at the end of the month, those with kids that don't have anything to eat, the homeless, the indigent, and anyone that falls short on a financial basis. They can receive help without being looked at or deemed useless or unwanted."
Richard continues talking about Damiano services, "I have used these resources and these resources have been great at times that I have needed them...it is phenomenal to me, and I'm honored to be here."