Offering a Bit of Peace Amid Tragedy
When a former Bell Bank work-study intern died unexpectedly while pursuing his dreams of playing professional soccer, his Bell team members rallied to support his family by donating their Pay It Forward funds.
Bell EmployeesBilli Jo Carpenter, VP/Human Resources Manager
Jan Knott, Executive Assistant
RecipientThe family of David Ramos-Camarillo
The NeedDavid Ramos-Camarillo was a student at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a college-prep high school for underprivileged students. Through the Corporate Work Study Program, which gives students hands-on experience and helps them fund part of their tuition costs, David spent several years working at Bell Bank – something he was very proud to do.
“Every time he came to work, he would stop by my office, and we always talked about what was going on in his life,” remarks Jan Knott, Bell Bank executive assistant in Bell’s Minneapolis-Colonnade office. “He loved soccer, and he excelled at all 3 – at soccer, his job and school.”
Soccer had been David’s passion since he was 8 years old.
“Once he touched a ball, he never let it go,” notes Andrea Ramos-Camarillo, David’s sister.
David even travelled to Mexico for professional soccer tryouts. But while there, he contracted the dengue virus from a mosquito bite. Dengue causes fever, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle and joint pain, and in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.
“He would come and go between fevers and would just try to brush it off,” Andrea explains.
After David had to be hospitalized, his family did everything possible to find a medical air ambulance flight to return him to the U.S., but he went into respiratory failure and died an hour before he was supposed to arrive home.
The ImpactWhen they found out what had happened, 26 Bell employees joined forces to pool their Pay It Forward funds, raising $18,000 for David’s family.
“David made such an impact on all the employees he worked with,” Jan comments.
The funds brought David’s parents a bit of peace – allowing them to focus on their son, instead of the economic struggle they would have to go through, says Andrea.
“I felt very blessed and very proud that we were able to do that for his family,” remarks Billi Jo Carpenter, human resources manager in Bell’s Minneapolis-Colonnade office.
Soon after, Andrea was hired to work as a mortgage operations support coordinator for Bell – and she started on her brother’s birthday.
“The Pay It Forward program shows the great humanity that Bell has,” Andrea says. “Without second-guessing themselves, they were willing to donate that money for my brother.”
Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.