Marty Ozer is the executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Nevada, located at 323 Maine St., near Renown. The organization is celebrating its 30th year in operation with an open house on Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with tours of the house at the top of every hour. Barbecue lunch will be served starting at 12:30 p.m. Visitors will learn about how the organization assists families of children with serious medical issues, including many with premature babies. Learn more at http://bit.ly/2uJW4YT.
How is the organization celebrating 30 years?
Well, we are having an open house here on Aug. 2, for the community. And we’re having two other open houses—one for Saint Mary’s and one for Renown. We’re serving barbecue stuff and giving tours to the community, in the house. … And we have a gala coming up, which is our Red Shoe Gala—in October. That will have a 30th anniversary theme. … We just recently had a huge event at Toll Brothers, south of town. We took nine of their model homes and put a chef in each home and invited people. And we had about 700 people show up. We had Jaguar and Land Rover cars all over the place. So, you know, we have a 30th anniversary sponsor, a new law firm in town—Blanchard, Krasner and French. And they are sponsoring our events, along with other sponsors, but they’re the big one.
On the website, I saw a list of achievements. Care to share some highlights?
Well, one example is we started a “travel for treatment” program, which no other houses have. So if a child has to be transferred from Reno to, let’s say, the Bay Area, for additional treatment, insurance pays for the child but not for the family. So we will supply them with gas cards, plane tickets—the family itself—or whatever it takes to get them to the next location. I think we’re the only house that has a “travel for treatment” program. And we also underwrite a care-mobile with Community Health Alliance. … We have a scholarship program that has raised $1,200,000 since 2000 for Northern Nevada high school seniors. It’s $1,000 initially, and, if they stay in school and pass everything, it continues—it becomes a renewable of $1,000 a semester. And 60 percent of the kids that get that scholarship, generally, are the first in their family to be going to college.
How would you like to see the community get involved?
Probably write a check for five-thousand dollars apiece. We have different ways they can get involved without having to give us a big donation, or any donation. We have a chef’s program. People sign up, come in, cook dinners for the families. … They can volunteer, come in one day a week, work in the office. … And, again, we vet everybody. It’s a commitment, because we can’t have someone say, “Well, I can do the next three Tuesdays, and that’s it.” You have to make a commitment that “Yes, I will come every Tuesday for two hours and help you in the office.” … We have a family room that’s over in Renown, pediatric intensive care floor. That one, we have three-hour shifts, and people sign up for that. … Come to the open house, and take a look at what we’re doing here.