At Concordia Lutheran Ministries, we are blessed with a dedicated team of compassionate employees who help us carry out our mission of caring each and every day.
Through our series of employee testimonials, “The Journey Here,” we’ll introduce you to team members, profiling their Concordia journey. The piece will be supplemented with a Q&A featured in our Faith in Caring magazine, offering further perspective on how our employees work as the hands and hearts of our mission.
We’re excited for you to meet Concordia at Villa St. Joseph’s Director of Food Service Nemorio Ramirez-Martinez:
After a busy dinner service at Concordia Villa St. Joseph, the crowd dwindles and Nemorio places a plate into the dishwasher tray, then pulls the handle. A puff of steam leaves the machine and wafts into the air like a memory.
“I started as a dishwasher in American restaurants,” said Nemorio Ramirez-Martinez, director of food service for Concordia at Villa St. Joseph, “I worked for a couple Mama and Papas restaurants.”
With each change of scenery, Nemorio saw his role change too. He exchanged his dishwasher for a set of knives, and soon he sent savory dishes out instead of taking empty ones away.
One of Nemorio’s past employers encouraged and helped him receive a diploma from the Community College of Beaver County. He graduated in 2003 with an associate degree in culinary arts.
“When I came to America, I set a goal to go to school and have a career like this,” Nemorio said. “This was my dream.”
Diploma in hand, Nemorio only further proved his leadership mentality, and he began running kitchens and rallying staff behind him.
Related: Nutrition Month: Staff & Residents Talk Healthy Eats (concordialm.org)
With the rumble of the dishwasher in the background, Nemorio opens the door to the cooler. From the produce to the sauces, he’s making sure it’s all fresh. Every day, Nemorio’s kitchen cooks nearly everything fresh and from scratch.
“I have freedom with the menu and making decisions in the facility. That freedom comes with trust in our team and each other,” Nemorio said. “I enjoy having ownership of the kitchen, deciding what to make and how to make it the best it can be.”
Jessica Pyle, personal care administrator for Concordia Villa St. Joseph, said through the interview process, she listened as Nemorio talked about leading a kitchen with his skill and expertise. She also caught glimpses of his spirit.
“His spirit was unstoppable. His energy from day one was contagious. He knows many of the residents and their families from the community. They are always elated to reconnect with him,” she said. “It was obvious he was meant to be here.”
But before Nemorio landed the job, Jessica had to see him in action first. A week after the interview, she and her husband went to the restaurant where Nemorio worked at the time. His delicious food blew them away.
“Nemorio is truly here to serve the residents,” Jessica said. “The fact that he is an amazing chef is just a bonus.”
The dishes are done now. The produce looked crisp. Nemorio checks in with his teammates and checks the schedule for tomorrow. He wants to be prepared. Every day is a new way to serve others.
Nemorio comes from a family full of givers. They love to give back to the community. Nemorio has six brothers, and like him, they all work in food services.
Nemorio said his brothers are amazed that he has the opportunity to give back while working.
“They often ask me, ‘How did you make it as far as you did?’ I wish my mother was still around to see me now. She would be really proud of me,” Nemorio said. “This is something that she always wanted for me.”
Related: Concordia at Villa St. Joseph Hosts Expansion Grand Opening – Concordia Lutheran Ministries (concordialm.org)
Nemorio looks one last time around the kitchen. A sheen of clean shimmers back at him. The pots are right where he and his staff will need them tomorrow. He flips the light switch. The lights go out. He’ll be back tomorrow to serve another day.
“I think everyone needs to find their purpose in life,” Nemorio said.
For Nemorio, his purpose is to serve more than food.
“I could spend all of my days in the kitchen, but I don’t,” Nemorio said. “I am out among the other staff and residents, bringing them joy which is very rewarding to me.”
When Nemorio wakes up tomorrow, he’ll be striving and searching for more.
“I hope there are even more opportunities to serve,” he said.
View all open careers at ConcordiaCareers.org and connect with us on social to learn more about our employee culture! And, to learn more about Nemorio’s perspective on his Concordia career, check out the June issue of Concordia’s Faith in Caring magazine. Subscribe today by emailing email@example.com.
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