3 Middletown community members join Middlesex United Way board

MIDDLETOWN — We are so lucky to have the best volunteers. Every year, when we elect and appoint new members to our Board of Directors, I am inspired by their excitement and willingness to serve. At our annual meeting Thursday, we welcomed three new board members: Ramona Burkey, Kristen Jensen and Marisol Rodriguez.

Ramona Burkey is the Russell Library director. Beginning as a children’s librarian, Burkey has worked in libraries for 30 years, serving in rural, suburban and urban locations. Burkey holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in anthropology and a master of library science from Southern Connecticut State University.

Burkey is also a past recipient of the CT Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award. She is a member of the Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative and lives in Middletown with her husband Daniel and son Andrew.

When asked why she supports Middlesex United Way, Ramona explained, “I’ve gone through challenging times in my own life, as we all have, but there has always been someone there to help me through. I owe it to my community to pay that forward.”

Kristen Jensen of Middletown is a members solution manager at Seasons Federal Credit Union. Kristen has incorporated her professional ambition into personal ambition and is involved in as many community activities as she can. In addition, Kristen has served on the steering committee for the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society for the past two years.

She is actively involved in various community organizations and groups, such as Oddfellows Playhouse, where she serves on the board of directors, Lawrence School PTS, School Climate Committee, and the School Governance Committee. She is involved with the Adopt-A-Family program with the South Fire District and volunteers with the Girls Scouts of Connecticut. Jensen and her 9-year-old daughter Harper are avid hikers, and spend as much time as possible together outside exploring.

When asked why she takes her time to serve with Middlesex United Way, Kristen enthusiastically remarked: “I love the Middlesex United Way because I believe that one person can make a tremendous impact in their community, however, it is far more powerful and fun with a group of like-minded friends.”

Marisol Rodriguez is diversity and inclusion officer/learning and development consultant at Liberty Bank in Middletown. Marisol began her career in 1997 as a teller at Middletown’s Metro Square branch, and in 2009, Marisol began her career in human services. In 2014, she accepted the role of diversity and inclusion officer.

Marisol is a graduate of Liberty Bank’s Leadership Development Program, and is a graduate of Springfield University with a bachelor of science degree in human services.

Marisol is actively involved with St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in Middletown and serves as chairwoman of the Mid-State Chambers Hispanic Outreach Leaders in Action. She is on the steering committee of Middletown WORKS, a Working Cities Challenge of the Federal Reserve Bank Boston. She is chairwoman of the Community Partnerships Committee of the CT National Diversity Council and sits on the Meriden Census Count Committee.

“The Middlesex United Way has had a long history of uplifting the individuals and communities they serve through the programs and services they provide. I have always been in awe of the work done by the United Way,” explained Marisol when asked why she supports the Middlesex United Way.

We want to take this opportunity to welcome our new board members and officers to the Middlesex United Way family. We are very thankful for your service and are excited for the year ahead.

Kevin Wilhelm is CEO and president of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.