What a year to have retired!
In January, I began my term as Board President of the Oxnard Harbor District after retiring from working on the waterfront as a Longshoreman for 51 years. Many of you have heard my story, starting out by working in the local strawberry fields to longshoreman, and now the President of the “Port that Farmers Built”. Throughout the pandemic and economic recession, I have challenged our Port to meet the needs of our community whenever possible. In May, we began a new initiative with various community partners called “Feeding the Frontlines.” Over the past 8 months, these weekly feedings have supported over 25,000 local farmworker families and distributed over 700,000lbs of food and supplies. Several of our Port customers joined in to help by donating fresh produce and their time at these weekly distributions across the region. We also aimed to support local restaurants through our lunch for longshoreman vouchers amid the COVID lockdown restrictions on dining. Many of our partners joined in the efforts to support our community including our tech partners at Fathomwerx. At the outset of the pandemic, Fathomwerx utilized our on-port laboratory to create face shields for healthcare workers using 3D printers onsite. Throughout this year-end issue of Dock Talk, you will read more about the efforts of how we brought the spirit of our famous Banana Festival directly to the community this year, spreading the spirit of support, generosity, and camaraderie to our most in-need communities.
2020 tried its best to break us and divide us, but we have stood together through it all. The hardships of the pandemic have strengthened existing friendships and forged new partnerships throughout our community that remind us we have much more that unites us, than divides us.
Adversity has a way of bringing people together, and for that I am grateful for past year of trials. Now let’s turn the page to 2021, a hopeful year of healing and rebuilding together!
Jess J. Ramirez
Oxnard Harbor District