Woman of Service October 10, 2007

I would like to nominate Liliana Quintero as a “Woman of Service”. Liliana came to the United States in July 2002. Her goal was to obtain her Masters in Business Administration from Indiana University South Bend and return to her job in Bogota Colombia. She completed her MBA in 2004. However, along the way she fell in love with a “greengo”and ended up resigning from her job at a major telecommunications company in Bogota. It was a very difficult decision to leave her excellent job (in which she was moving up the corporate ladder) and family and move to Elkhart, Indiana. Hispanics have a very close knit family and even today there is not a day that goes by that she does not talk to her mother by phone. In addition to her husband, she found another joy in her journey to Indiana. She discovered that she enjoys working for and with the community.

Liliana took a position at the Hispanic Latino Health Coalition of Elkhart County (HLHCEC) in January of 2005. In June of that same year, she became the Director of the non profit organization. Liliana has grown the organization into a thriving part of the local community. She now touches over four thousand local community members yearly with her various programs. Here are several of the reasons I believe Liliana deserves distinction.

Liliana’s ability to grow the organization: One example of her outreach is the annual health fair which she started in 2005. The first one was held at Roosevelt elementary. Despite the anticipated crowd of 100 to 150, over 300 participants came for the free services. At the second annual health fair held in 2006, 300-400 people were expected and over 800 people lined the halls of Mary Beck elementary school. This year the coalition expected 700-800 attendees but over 1400 community members showed up on Saturday September 8, 2007 to receive over 4700 screenings. I took a moment in the middle of the event and looked around at the hundreds of people crowding into the cafeteria of Central High School and was very much inspired by what I saw. Many good organizations were providing services to a lot of needy community members

Liliana’s ability to organize: The amazing part about this unique health fair is that five major health facilities took part in the event.

Liliana’s Faith: Liliana worked tirelessly to raise the over $25,000 required to organize this year’s event. Liliana maintained a level of faith that I could not understand. I was telling her to stop, stop and she persevered.

Liliana’s diversification: In addition to the health fair, Liliana provides a number of other programs year round.

Liliana’s love of people over stuff/money: Despite the fact that Liliana holds two masters degrees (one in Industrial Engineering and her MBA) and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Liliana continues to service the community with the salary of a high school graduate.

Liliana’s friendships: Liliana continues to expand her circle of friends and admirers. It seems like everywhere we go she runs into people whom she has touched in some way. I know she changed my life the day I met her. That is after all, why I married her and why I plan to spend the rest of my life with her.

For all of these reasons and more I nominate Liliana Quintero as a woman of distinction in Elkhart County. I recommend that everyone meet, if even for a moment, this wonderful woman who has changed my life and touched thousands in Elkhart County. In closing I would like to say that Liliana means everything to me and I am thankful to God for bringing her into my life. Roger Carlson