The city of Goleta is praising its CERT Business Ambassador Team “for a job well done.”
“This volunteer group, made up of graduates from the City’s Community Emergency Response Team program, was an enormous part of Goleta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the city said in a news release. “They worked in three teams and met businesses at their storefronts to provide guidance and education to the ever-changing health guidelines and provided ideas and solutions to challenges that arose at store locations.”
The CERT business ambassadors put in more than 300 hours of work for the community and contacted more than 125 businesses in Goleta.
The program was led by Michael Baris, the city’s emergency services coordinator, and Natalia Rios, an emergency services aide, who also serve as the program managers.
“My jaw dropped when I saw the final numbers our volunteers put in,” Mr. Baris said. “I can’t imagine a more amazing group. These volunteers care so much about their community. It’s incredible.”
The CERT ambassadors have discussed their experiences with the city.
Zubir Putih: “To be out there during the pandemic and lockdown was pretty scary. We are glad to be able to help in a very different kind of emergency and are thankful we are safe now.”
Jeff Woolever: “Being an ambassador for the city of Goleta during the pandemic was a great experience that helped local businesses and created an atmosphere of partnership.”
Viridiana Victoria: “This project gave me the opportunity and pleasure to serve my community in the face of a difficult, unknown and changing situation during the pandemic. Now it is a joy to see that we are on the right track and improving more and more.”
Peter Omoregie: “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a volunteer city of Goleta Ambassador to help businesses navigate the responses to the pandemic. I had great experiences working with the leaders and other volunteers.”
Stephan Brissaud: “I am grateful for the opportunity to help the Goleta community through the CERT Program under the leadership of Michael and Natalia. The local businesses were appreciative of the regular flow of information we gave them during the entire duration of the Ambassador program, and I am very glad the City is on the road to recovery so fast.”
Ian Fiedler: “I enjoyed being a CERT ambassador. It was great to be there for the businesses of Goleta.”
Cecilia Herrera: “Volunteering as a CERT business ambassador was very fulfilling and an honor. We were in the same storm and separated from each other, but everyone was taking care of each other to be afloat. I love Goleta and our community.”
Justin Haagen: “It was an honor to serve on the city of Goleta’s CERT Ambassador team. We were out in the business community at least once a week visiting with local businesses for many months during the pandemic and our educational efforts were welcomed. After several visits in our green volunteer shirts, businesses recognized us as a partner and understood the requirements of the always changing color tier system. It was great to be of service to our community.”