April is a time to acknowledge those who give their time and energy during National Volunteer Month. Rio Metro would like to recognize one of its own: Marie Morra, a long-time employee and selfless community volunteer.
A History of Volunteerism
Growing up in Clayton, a small town in the northeastern-most part of New Mexico, Morra began volunteering at a young age.
“My dad volunteered for everything in Clayton when I was growing up,” said Morra. “Having him as an example gave me my interest in helping the community.”
Some of her first volunteer work included helping her dad with whatever he was doing for the community at the time, and then progressed to activities like teaching kids how to swim and helping with local camps.
Shortly after joining the workforce and landing a good job in purchasing, Morra decided to shift careers and work for the Girl Scout Council in New Mexico and Colorado because she found the work and the mission more gratifying.
Making Community Connections
Throughout her career, Morra continued to work for organizations serving others, as well as find ways to volunteer and help people to connect to the services they need most.
Morra has been working as a Marketing Specialist for the Rio Metro Regional Transit District for almost 14 years, and carries that spirit on in her current position.
“As part of my job I work to increase ridership for the Rail Runner and Rio Metro, and teach people how to use the train and bus. I go out into the community and set up outreach tables to provide information about our services as well as the programs that we offer to veterans and seniors,” said Morra.
She is also a connector. Through her work, Morra brings people and organizations together, not only by showing them how easy it is to use transit to reach their destination, but by helping them connect with other individuals and organizations.
One example is how Morra has become increasingly involved with Rio Metro’s Veterans and Active Duty Military Ride Free program. “I’ve gotten to know the agencies that are providing housing and transportation. I partner with these programs in rural areas, and try to help them by suggesting efficient ways to provide this service. If a veteran needs assistance to get to a hospital in the city, I show them how to use transit.”
She also works closely with the Native American and senior communities, and sets up a Senior Exchange program, where participants of Senior Centers at area Pueblos have visited various City of Albuquerque Senior Centers and vice versa.
Another demographic that Morra loves to work with is kids. For the past 20 years she has served on the Read to Me! ABQ committee, an organization that holds an annual book drive and puts books directly into the hands and homes of low-income children in the Albuquerque area.
“I love the program because we are serving students. But I also love the Read to Me committee itself. They take their jobs as volunteers very seriously and they love what they do,” said Morra.
The List Continues to Grow
When asked to name some of the organizations she has volunteered with in the past, Morra rattled off a long list, including the City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs, Job Corps, Sickle Cell Council, Read to Me! ABQ, Ronald McDonald House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, DECA, Meals on Wheels, and the National Senior Games. Just to name a few…
She was even presented with a prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for her volunteerism several years ago.
“I didn’t realize how many programs I have volunteered for until I was asked about it,” said Morra. “I hope I’ve made a difference in peoples’ lives. I know it has made a difference in mine. It’s very rewarding.”
Morra also added, “One of the things I would like to do in the future when I retire is work with the babies in the NICU at the hospital. I would love to hold and rock the babies.”
Thank you, Marie, for your outstanding service to the community!