Sarah Rodriguez takes her volunteer work in stride as she operates her own business in downtown Vale and raises a family. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)
VALE – It is a weekday night and the traffic on A Street is cleared out but a pillar of light from Luzetta’s Flowers splashes across the wet pavement.
The light is a lonely beacon, a signal that even as most of Vale is settling down for the night, someone is still tending the community fire.
Inside, Luzetta’s owner Sarah Rodriguez is at work, fulfilling orders for flowers and still answering an occasional phone call.
She jokes her late hours are because “I like to talk. I don’t get work done during the day.”
Work, though, is what Rodriguez does a lot of, both for her business and the community.
Nominated as a Malheur Mover, Rodriguez said she really did not warrant special recognition.
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“There are plenty of other people more deserving,” said Rodriguez.
The individual who nominated Rodriguez to the Enterprise as a Malheur Mover wrote:
“Sara Rodriguez owns and operates Luzetta’s. Goes totally above and beyond in every business transaction. She is a huge supporter of the community, the schools, everything. She’s the gal that deserves to have flowers sent to her,”
Rodriguez, born and raised in Vale, has indeed built a strong record of giving back to her community, even as she strived to get her business off the ground.
Rodriguez took over Luzetta’s Flowers 12 years ago and watched her clientele expand. Like any small business owner, Rodriguez must cope with fluctuating demand but the Christmas season is typically busy.
“It comes and goes in spurts and I am able to get my doors open and provide for the people of the community,” said Rodriguez.
While her business takes center stage, Rodriguez also dedicates time and effort to the Vale community.
She helps with the Vale Little League every summer and was also one of the people who spearheaded the resurgence of the El Campo community carnival.
El Campo was once a routine happening in Vale but it declined over time and eventually disappeared.
Rodriguez said she remembered going to the carnival as a child and linked up with Todd and Kale Hesse to revive the event.
“It was time for our generation to pick it up,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said creating small coalitions within the community is crucial.
Rodriguez said while she is involved with the community, she is just one of a large number of people who strive to make Vale a great place to live.
“These community events only go on because of volunteers,” said Rodriguez. “We are surrounded by a lot of people in this community who like to give.”
Rodriguez said her civic involvement can trace its roots to her youth, where she watched members of the community step up and help on a regular basis. Plus, she said, Vale has been good to her.
“The community has been amazing to me,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez and her husband, TJ, both aim to ensure their children, Thomas, Zettie, Tristan and Trent, learn how to give back to their town.
Good role models, said Rodriguez, are important.
“My parents, they were always giving,” said Rodriguez.
The best part of her life and her business, said Rodriguez, is the people.
“I get to meet some amazing people and I can go home and be blessed,” said Rodriguez.
She said she also likes the variety her shop generates.
“Every day there is something very interesting, every day is different,” she said.
Letting people down on their orders is her worst fear, said Rodriguez.
“That’s hard for me,” she said.
Rodriguez said she likes her role as a local businesswoman and a volunteer.
“I feel I have to do my job and if that (volunteering) is my job in this world while I am here, I will take that job,” said Rodriguez.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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