Mesa resident Katie Vietri is the winner of this year’s Desert Financial Credit Union Volunteer Captain of the Year Award. She volunteered 152 hours in 2021 — the equivalent of nearly an entire month of full-time work. The Volunteer Captain of the Year receives a trophy, bag of local and sustainable gifts, a $200 gift card and the opportunity to select a charity for Desert Financial to donate $1,000. Vietri chose Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona to receive the donation in her name.
Name: Katie Vietri
When and why I moved here: I was born in Scottsdale but have lived in Mesa most of my life.
How many hours did you volunteer in 2021? 152 total hours.
Where did you volunteer in 2021? My company has an amazing team that puts together volunteer opportunities from all over the valley, so I get to help out so many places. Some of the organizations include United Food Bank, Keep Tempe Beautiful, Free Arts, Meals on Wheels, Feed My Starving Children and the Arizona Humane Society. I’ve even been able to help out at local events, like the Christmas event for Hometown Heroes or vaccine distribution at the Desert Financial arena. I’m also a regular blood donor with Vitalant.
Why did you choose those places to volunteer? I try to volunteer with organizations that have the same values that I have. The services that those organizations provide are so essential to the people in our community. I know that working with them will allow me to help make Arizona a better place to live.
What I like most about living here: I love being outdoors, so I love that we’re relatively close to so many different outdoor areas to explore, both desert and forest. I also love the sense of community that I see when volunteering around the valley.
What I do: I’m a fraud analyst at Desert Financial Credit Union.
What I like most about what I do: As a fraud analyst, my work sometimes leads me to a person who’s being scammed. I take great pride when I’m able to prevent someone from losing the money they work so hard to earn and when I can provide someone the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe.
Changes I’d like to see in this area: Homelessness and hunger are a big issue in our community.
Favorite community cause & why: It’s hard to narrow down just one, but I love the work that United Food Bank does around the valley. Food insecurity is a huge problem here in Arizona and so many people, adults and children, go hungry or without food. United Food Bank helps to get food to the hands of those in need. They’ve also committed to focusing on sustainability wherever possible, which I love.
My family: I have a small but wonderful family. My amazing mom and dad were both born out of state but have lived in Arizona most of their lives. I have one younger brother who has been serving in the Air Force for the last six years. My husband and I have been married for about four years and we have two dogs.
My interests and hobbies: My favorite place in Arizona is the Mogollon Rim area, and we love to go camping or hiking. I love to garden, watch baseball and play with my dogs.
The trait(s) I admire in others: Patience and kindness. The world can be a harsh place and we never know what our neighbors are struggling with. I think a little more kindness could go a long way in making positive changes around us.
People who inspired me (and how): One of my biggest inspirations to volunteering and giving back to my community is actually my company, Desert Financial Credit Union. As an organization, we focus on making the community around us a better place. I am lucky to work with so many other kind-hearted people who make it a purpose to give back to our community and inspire me daily.
My guiding philosophy: I always try to be kind to others, and help out wherever I can. I’ve been lucky, I have amazing support and had access to food and education, and not everyone is so lucky. If I can help be that support for someone else, I will do what I can to help.
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