Here’s what Lettia and Vinny have to say about volunteering for the load-in/ load-out crew
For the past 11 years, Lettia Milito has shown up before dawn on the morning of the Ride for Roswell with coffee in hand. She begins final set-up for the event before the sun comes up, while most of Buffalo is still asleep.
“It’s dark, cold and nobody’s there, but I love it at that time. The sunrise is absolutely gorgeous, and there’s just so much promise,” she says.
Lettia oversees a team that loads supplies in and out for Ride Day and the Celebration of Hope. Her duties typically begin the week leading up to the event and end long after the last rider has crossed the finish line. She started volunteering more than a decade ago to fulfill a requirement for her project management certification, but she comes back every year for the people, the atmosphere and the positive energy — not to mention the great cause.
A Family Effort
Lettia’s husband, Vinny, began volunteering with the Ride about six years ago, around the time he retired from his job as the director of global customer services at Oracle. In addition to managing the loading and unloading of supplies, he also oversees the distribution of supplies to each rest stop, matching the number of riders expected to pass through to available supplies. Supply quantities change often, so distribution remains fluid until the trucks are fully loaded the day before the Ride.
“There are challenging moments, but in spite of it all, we make sure everybody has the supplies they need,” Vinny says. “When the last of those trucks leaves, there’s a lot of satisfaction in knowing that the rest stops will be ready to go come Saturday morning when riders start coming in.”
Lettia shares similar sentiments and says she enjoys both managing logistics and setting her crew members up for success. When asked on Zoom why people might want to volunteer, she gave a slight smirk and said, “Well, everybody knows my team has the most fun.”
Lettia was half joking, but most of the volunteers she works with are repeats like her and Vinny who keep coming back year after year. She remembers one particular volunteer, a high school student whose mother made him get involved. His disgruntled attitude soon dissipated into laughter, and by the end of his shift, he was truly enjoying himself. That volunteer came back again the next year — that time, of his own accord.
Load-in and load-out roles tend to be extremely active and are perfect for those looking to get their steps in. According to Lettia and Vinny, though, there’s a perfect job for just about everyone.
“There are so many different things that you can do,” Lettia says. “There’s going to be something you’ll enjoy doing.”
“A lot of people feel like they should volunteer for something but don’t know how to get started,” Vinny says. “The Ride is so large now that there’s going to be something you can pick that will give you satisfaction in knowing you did something for a good cause.”
To view all opportunities and register to volunteer, visit our page below.