The first annual PlayCore Hero winner was recently announced in Long Beach CA. PlayCore, a Chattanooga based company that promotes its mission and values by giving back to communities in a variety of ways, wanted to create a vehicle to reward the inspirational people they meet throughout the course of business. Bob Farnsworth, PlayCore CEO explains, “We are continually inspired by the people we encounter, people who have made a career of giving back selflessly, with complete dedication to improving the communities they serve. These are the true heroes of any community –spending their time in the trenches with no expectation of recognition, in order to make a difference. Their dedication mirrors PlayCore’s mission and values, so we wanted to find a way to recognize them and honor their commitment.”
PlayCore chose Ramon Barajas, Superintendent of Maintenance Operations for the Department of Recreation and Parks, City of Los Angeles. Mr. Barajas oversees all City-wide maintenance, forestry, landscape, and irrigation, divisions that work on 435 parks on over 16,000 acres of parkland in the City of Los Angeles. Ramon also manages multi-million dollar construction projects for the department. He is currently working along with his colleagues on the 50 Park Initiative. This is a project to develop 50 new parks in neighborhood where a large percentage of the residents do not live in close proximity to a park or recreational facility. Along with managing the budget and overseeing over 700 full time staff, Mr. Barajas is the liaison between Recreation and Parks and City Officials. Mr. Barajas helps in writing grants and continues to be heavily involved in many of the City’s urban youth programs.
He began his 29-year career with the City of Los Angeles as a Gardener Caretaker. Due to his excellent work ethic and diligence, always going far above and beyond the call of duty, he was promoted through the ranks to the position he currently holds. Mr. Barajas is also a dedicated family man, adoptive father, and inspiration to all who know him, who puts his customary 110% effort into ensuring that his dedication to work and family are balanced.
The award was presented at the 2012 California Parks and Recreation Training Conference in Long Beach California. As part of the award, PlayCore will make a $1500 donation to Ramon’s charity of choice in support of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Mr. Barajas has asked that the donation be made in the name of his nephew, Christopher Elijah Chavez, who passed away from cancer and received care at the hospital.