Volunteering was Rozanne Hird’s cure for the deep sadness she felt after losing her uncle who had made his home with her for many years. “I realized that to get on with my life I had to do something. A friend of mine was associated with St. Vincent de Paul, so I started by stuffing envelopes, then worked in the kitchen for two years.” Since 1998 Rozanne has managed the main dining room for St. Vincent de Paul every Saturday and Sunday, serving between 800-1,000 plates every day. Last November she helped move the facility to its new Human Services campus, doing everything from cleaning the building to writing a new procedure manual.
During the fall of 2005 Rozanne also worked with Special Ministries helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina who were lodged in Phoenix. “I used my computer skills to help people connect with their relatives, book transportation, and fill lodging needs.”
Rozanne grew up in Taylorville, IL, then in the middle of high school moved to Wellsville, MO. She graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a BS in Finance. Her first job after graduation was with the Aetna Life and Casualty Insurance Company in St. Louis, where she lived for six years. After she was promoted, she spent the next five years in Indianapolis, before moving to Phoenix with CNA Insurance to create a large account department to write million dollar premium accounts.
“I worked for many years as an insurance underwriter. That means I’m very analytical and enjoy solving problems, so when IBM came out in the early 80’s with their first personal computers, I found them fascinating! I read books, magazines, and ‘played’ with my computer; I was self-taught and grew up with the technology. So when my insurance company computerized their office in the early 90’s, I was the person everyone came to for their computer problems.” Today Rozanne has turned her skills into her own business, R.R. Hird & Co. which provides software training and tech support. Her tagline is “I do Windows!”
Rozanne has not sought recognition or awards, but quite a few have come her way. Just this April she received the Community Spirit Award from the Volunteer Center of Maricopa County. She was also pleased to be nominated for the Hon Kachina Award, the premier award for volunteers in the Phoenix area. “It is really an honor - they host a black-tie dinner and it’s covered by the news media. The winner receives an authentic Kachina doll.” In 2002, Rozanne was recognized by DOVIA, Director of Volunteers In Agencies. Her alumni association at the U of M even created an award in her honor, the Rozanne Hird Award. And the “Light the Way” award was given to Rozanne in 2000 by the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters.
“The sunshine, the friendly people” are what Rozanne most appreciates about Phoenix. “There are so many helpful, supportive and nice people here, it really has a small-town feel about it. Phoenix also has a friendly business climate- people enjoy networking and helping each other.”
She asks, “What is important to you? There is always a way you can help others. I have always tried to be useful to others whether it was through my computer business, or through the dining room at St. Vincent de Paul.” Ultimately, Rozanne Hird says her life philosophy is expressed best by the Winston Churchill quote, “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”
What are your volunteer activities? I manage the main dining room for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul every Sat and Sun, and have been doing this for over 8 years. I took last November off to move the dining room into the new Human Services campus at 1075 W Jackson. I also worked with our Special ministries in Sept, helping the Katrina evacuees.
Which social event is your favorite? Having a group of friends over to my house for dinner and a good discussion.
Favorite Restaurant? It used to be Eddie Matneys, before he closed. Now looking for a new favorite.
Who is your hero and why? My mother. She worked hard, prayed hard, taught me right from wrong, and how to be a good, loving, giving person.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Tom Brokaw. He has been all over the world, met world leaders and interviewed people from all walks of life.
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Glen Close. She is not only a great actress, but seems to have a good heart.
What gives a woman/man style? Being themselves.
Do you have any Pets? 3 cats, Smoke, Cloud and Sunshine
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? That I took care of it and all within it.
What words describe you best? Honest, loyal, fun, dedicated.
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Loving and caring.
What was your first job? Stocking shelves after school at Mattingly’s, a local Missouri dime store chain.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I don't deplore anything about myself and even dislike the word deplore. I'm not perfect by any means, but I am basically a good person.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? I dislike intolerance.
What is your greatest indulgence? Playing Freecell on the computer.
What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? The gift of love.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My service at St. Vincent de Paul ranks at the top, followed by my cats, my friends and my home.
What is your current state of mind? Sane and happy, thank you very much.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Living.
What is your most treasured possession? A little antique glass axe my grandfather gave to me shortly before he died.
What is the quality you most like in people? Intelligence and a curiosity about life and the world.
Favorite books / Writers? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and anything written by Ken Follet
What is the best advice you have ever received? Live as if every day may be your last, because it could be true.