Employee Spotlight: Ron Kostusak
“Every day holds a new adventure,” Account Rep Ron Kostusak says of his favorite part of his job. “I get to meet new ‘characters’ in my life’s story every week.” For Ron, his story’s “characters” are co-workers and customers at work—but the characters in his personal life include children in need, veterans, and even animals. The latter three groups have been a passion of his and his wife Emily’s for years.
Children in Need
“I have been building and working on bicycles my entire adult life,” explains Ron. “As a kid, my bike brought me so much mobility and freedom, and I just want as many kids as possible to experience those feelings, too.” So when basically-anyone-he-knows has a bike they’re no longer using, Ron is the first person they contact. He services the donated bike to make sure it’s in tip-top shape, finds a bike lock on clearance, and then donates each one to a local child in need. In fact, his reputation is such that teachers at a nearby elementary school have been great at pointing him in the direction of a deserving recipient.
During the holidays, he works with the Sacramento, CA, sheriff’s department by helping assemble bikes donated from local retailers that are then given to kids as gifts that might not otherwise receive any. Why does he do all of this? “Bikes + Kids = Happiness,” he says. “It’s a pretty easy formula.”
The “why” for his work with the Veterans Administration (VA) hits a little closer to home, though. Offering medical, social, and mental-health services to military veterans, the VA quite literally saved his dad’s life…on more than one occasion.
“My dad is a retired, disabled U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran.” Ron states. “He has had double bypass surgery, brain surgery; and was diagnosed with PTSD and diabetes—all of which are directly related to his service and exposure to Agent Orange. The VA has provided him with necessary immediate and long-term care at no cost to him. He has also had a couple of heart attacks—one massive one—and it’s because of them that he’s celebrating his 77th birthday this year.”
Since 2010, his work with the VA has been pretty consistent. Through talking about his dad’s health issues with friends and co-workers, Ron discovered an entire network of veterans that are experiencing their own set of struggles—some fighting them alone. He gives these veterans rides to and from the nearby VA when buses aren’t available or they can’t afford a rideshare. When Ron worked in a car dealership prior to joining MarketSource, he partnered with like-minded co-workers to purchase, refurbish and gift five vehicles to veterans in need of transportation.
Explains Ron, “I was not able to serve in the military, so I feel the calling to serve those that did.”
His third group of life-story “characters” involves those of the four-legged variety. In fact, Ron and Emily are the types of people that must pet any dog or cat that crosses their path. It all started with their 20-year-old rescue cat Dragonfly (they now have five rescue dogs, too). Ron and Emily work frequently with the Sacramento SPCA and international dog rescue Marley’s Mutts.
Not only do they donate money to the SPCA every time they visit their vet’s office (which is fairly often with six pets!), but they foster, arrange fostering, and assist with the adoption of local dogs and cats. When they notice great deals on dog or cat food, they grab it and drop it off at the shelter. A few times per year, they collect old towels, blankets, sheets, and pillows so that the animals have something of their own to take to their new home once adopted. Ron explains that the SPCA lets you go in and hang out with the dogs and cats, too. “You can take them on field trips to the park, on walks…even to Starbucks for a puppuccino. It’s so much fun! Animals really make you realize how good you can be. They want nothing in return except for your attention and affection. I say pretty often that, as humans, we don’t deserve them.”
This journey and passion for serving others began with a very vivid memory from years ago. Ron explains: “I was pretty down in the dumps and a friend of mine invited me to visit him in L.A. for the weekend to clear my head. The first morning that I woke up in the hotel, I sat down and looked out the window. It had a sticker on it that said, ‘you’re alive, do something.’ I took a picture of it with my phone and I still have it to this day.”
He continues: “We’re all capable of serving others in some way—just take that first step to think about someone else before yourself.”
Author: Sarah Nicholas
Sarah is a Content Writer for MarketSource. She has deep experience helping B2B, high-tech companies, and non-profit organizations define and convey their voice through compelling content and strategies that build and scale brands.