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Work from the Heart

The Community Champions inspire others to do great things. We want to honor these individuals who create opportunities for their community’s with their great efforts and make every day better for those who live and work around them.

Martha Ruiz-MartinezMartha Ruiz- Martinez is a District Representative at U.S. Senator Pat Roberts’ Dodge City Office.  Her passion for helping empower others and doing what is right is an inspiration to all. Martha moved to Dodge City in 1994 from Southern California, and became part of Senator Robert’s Team in 2001.  “I love people and enjoy working with everyone in the community.  My goal everyday is to always greet everyone who comes into the office with a smile and a listening ear.”

The Senator’s office is located at 100 Military Plaza, Suite 203, Dodge City.  Anyone who needs guidance in dealing with the federal government or help in cutting through bureaucracy can contact any of Senator Robert’s Kansas or Washington DC offices.  Martha has promoted the importance of good health, education, community involvement, and continued integration.

“It is so rewarding to see the many families, Veterans, students and seniors that our office has been able to help.  It is a blessing to have a great boss and staff, who allow me to continue to grow every day” added Martha.

Angelica CastilloAngelica Castillo moved to Garden City when she was 13 years old from Chihuahua, Mexico.  “When my family decided to move here they saw it as an opportunity.  I was a teenager and I didn’t want to move — I had my world all figured out at home” Angelica said.  She remembers her ESL days, “I then became the translator for my parents.  Now, I can still see little kids translating for their parents” added Angelica.

Being a first generation immigrant has helped her understand first hand all the challenges immigrants experience when they arrive in the U.S.  Those experiences made her want to help the community and make a difference in Garden City, her new home.  Ten years ago, Angelica started working for the community through various volunteer opportunities.  She got a position at the Chamber of Commerce to target Hispanic businesses, “I was immersed in the community, I got the opportunity to meet great people in the community and state,” said Angelica.

Through the Hispanic Chamber, Angelica helped to develop programs to help low income families achieve their higher education dreams.  She also helped to develop a youth leadership program through LULAC and the Hispanic Chamber to create internships for students of low income families.

In 2005 Angelica won the Kansas Minority Advocate of the year Award.  “I am passionate about my city and about helping others who are in the same boat of being new to this country” said Angelica.  Currently she is the President of Fiesta Mexicana in Garden City.  The festival has been in the community for over 85 years.  The goal of this festival is to create cultural awareness and to gather funds for scholarships for low income families.  Angelica enjoys volunteering in the community and she tries to be as active as possible.  She currently works at the Golden Plains Credit Union in Garden City.

Are you a Community Champion or do you know someone who is?  Do you do your best every day and through your actions inspire others to do great things?  If you are, we want to hear from you.  Please email us your story at khlaac@ks.gov and you could be featured in one of our newsletters.