Ramos receives leadership award

Published 1:00 am Saturday, November 16, 2019

RESERVE — Recent East St. John graduate Nelson Ramos lives by the motto, “Pray before you lay, and you can wake up to a brighter day.”

It helps him navigate each day, whether he is studying at River Parishes Community College or participating in activities with Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.

Ramos is a recent recipient of the Sophie Aramburo Servant Leader Award, a recognition given by the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for outstanding dedication to the church.

The leadership at Our Lady of Grace nominated Ramos, but he was selected from a much larger pool of nominees. This month marked the first time an OLG Church parishioner has received the award.

Ramos got the news over the phone, and he still hasn’t quite gotten over the shock.

“It was a surprise to me,” Ramos said. “I felt good about it afterwards. It really put a smile on my face.”

His mother, Connie Ramos, said the award is an honor because it celebrates leadership and a spirit of service.

“What’s most rewarding about this award is that it’s for leadership,” Connie Ramos said. “It was the first time we had this in our parish at our church, and for him to be so young and get this award was just unbelievable. He’s only 19, but I raised him to always put God first.”

At Our Lady of Grace, Ramos is a member of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), an usher and an altar server. He is on the winning quiz bowl team through CYO. Each October, he participates in a World Youth Day in New Orleans that allows him to meet other young Catholics around the region.

He has previously received the Outstanding Youth Award through the organization.

The road to confirmation led Ramos to a number of opportunities, including ushering with the church and participating in food distributions with Second Harvest Food Bank.

Through the church, he has been part of Martin Luther King Day celebrations and other community events. One event led him to Orleans Parish for a volunteer cleanup day at St. Mary’s Academy.

Ramos was a member of the East St. John football team.

“Any time we had outdoor activities, I always participated and helped out,” Ramos said. “For me, it’s important because everybody needs to have an outstretched hand and an open heart to other people. If you need help one day, people will think back to when you helped out. It’s a chain reaction. It makes people happy, too.”

Ramos is currently a freshman at River Parishes Community College in Reserve, where he is studying welding. After obtaining his certifications and establishing a skill, he may choose to extend his education with a degree in engineering.

“I love the industrial field and I love hands-on activities like welding,” Ramos said. “It’s something I want to do.”

At East St. John, Ramos played fullback and defensive tackle on the Wildcats football team. He also played in the band during his senior year.

He describes himself as kind and humble, sometimes outspoken, and a great listening ear for people in need.

“If you need any help, I’m going to be there for you,” Ramos said. “If you need anything, I got it.”