Farmworkers’ rights advocate recognized for contributions to the Latino community

Ramón Ramírez receives 2010 Regence Latino Hero Award

PORTLAND, Ore. — Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has awarded Ramón Ramírez, co-founder of the Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United, its 2010 Latino Hero Award.  The award is part of Regence’s ongoing commitment to the Latino community, and honors individuals of Latino descent who have given back to the community and have impressive professional or educational accomplishments.

“Ramón has long been a vocal advocate for northwest farmworkers,” said Francisco Garbayo, who leads Regence’s Latino outreach efforts. “He helps make sure they receive fair pay, safe working conditions, and health information about pesticide exposure.  His commitment to Latino community cannot be overstated and truly embodies the spirit of the Latino Hero Award.”

Since 1985 when Ramírez co-founded the Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), its membership has grown from 80 to 5,000 members.  Through partnerships with other organizations, Ramírez has also helped build more than 100 housing units for farmworkers and a local education center for Head Start in Woodburn.

Upon learning he was the winner of the Regence Latino Hero Award, Ramírez said, “It’s an honor I don’t deserve, but I humbly accept it in the name of the thousands of farmworkers in the northwest – my true heroes.”

As the recipient of the Hero Award, Ramírez will receive $2,000 which he plans to donate to the Willamette Valley Law Project for the Capaces Leadership Institute to help develop leaders in the farmworker movement.  He will also be featured in a Regence advertising campaign.

About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is a leading health plan in Oregon, with more than 750,000 members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, serving nearly 2.5 million members as Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Each plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or www.twitter.com/RegenceOregon.