Let me start out by saying, I am horrible at goodbyes - which is ironic considering how much of our job involves goodbyes. We spend about a year working very closely with our project homeowners and facility partners and then after the Build Day, we part ways. Similarly, we get to work very closely with our AmeriCorps members for about 10 months before they fly off onto new life adventures. And today is one of those days – today is the last day of service for our Program Development Associate, Andrew Oommen.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Andrew had no hesitations about diving head first into his Bay Area adventure – within the first few months of landing in San Francisco, he had walked all over this hilly 7 by 7 city (in flip-flops!), had found the best happy hour deal and all sorts of discoveries. It was this same “head first”, enthusiastic & unflappable attitude that he approached his job here with - he’s been a tremendous addition to this motley RTSF family and will be sorely missed! Here are just a few of the fantastic contributions he’s made to RTSF and the program department: reigning Database Czar, project manager, smooth public speaker, fellow hip-hop Friday celebrator, appliance salesman, material donation sleuth, warehouse tamer and more. With no further ado, here are some of our favorite memories of Andrew…
Melissa: “Andrew is AWESOME and it’s hard to document awesomeness! His favorite game is “name that song”. Every time we go to Dolores Park and music is playing, he can name that song while both Ted and myself have never heard of such artists. RTSF has forever changed his life! Most people don’t think about home safety but Andrew, on the other hand, can tell you the width and length of a grab bar or a hand rail by just looking at it. The other day, as we exited a restaurant, Andrew was able to guess the dimensions of a grab bar. Home Safety Skills! ”
Me (Valerie): “In addition to being an extremely thoughtful, a hard worker, I’ve also really enjoyed nerding out over music with Andrew – he’d turn me onto good albums, songs and it still cracks me up when he told me that I had to check this song out, cause it was his jam and he’d been trying to hit that high Usher note. Great song buddy and super great getting to work with you this past year!” Andrew’s”>
Karen: “In applying for the position, Andrew’s cover letter mentioned that he had wanted to go to a camp near his house that would help him improve his public speaking abilities. However, he wasn’t able to find one and instead decided to create “Camp Andrew”, participation of 1. I love the Camp Andrew concept and here’s why: it shows his confidence, determination, sense of humor and creativity. It’s been a great pleasure to have you at RTSF this year sharing those traits with all of us!”
Jonathan: “Remember that time that Andrew got really angry, agitated or upset about something? Yeah, I can’t either. What about the time he got all excited and spoke so fast you couldn’t understand what he was saying? Don’t remember that one either. Solid as a rock, steady as a clock, and cool as a cucumber. His Access wizardry dwarfed my humble efforts and his finesse with the clients robbed me of many potential girl and boyfriends. Always ready to lend a hand, he helped me squeeze a Craigslist couch into my apartment without regard for architectural conventions like height and width. His impact on our capacity has been amazing and he will be missed dearly; like Gandolph misses Frodo, like Haymitch misses Katniss, and like Obi Wan misses Luke. Farewell young padawon. Farewell.”
Ted: “I know him best for his life motto, ‘I’m just trying to function.’ Aren’t we all just trying to function? Few do so as smoothly and with some added funk like Andrew. I’ve learned a lot from him. Like how to effectively cut in line. I gained some insight on the intricacies between YOLO, You Only Live Once, and Carpe Diem through discussions with Andrew. There will be a lot of ‘remember when…’ stories involving Andrew and I because they were crazy, fun, serene, blurry or all of the above. I’d like to share one of the greatest memories –