Aramark Outstanding Volunteer Dean Otto
Dean Otto, Purchasing Manager at the Ottawa, Canada Convention Centre, lost his young daughter, Maddy, seven years ago to an inoperable brain stem tumor. Inspired by the care Maddy received during her last hours at Roger’s House pediatric palliative care facility, he and his family have led multiple events to raise funds for Roger’s House. This year, Otto was honored with a Silver Aramark Outstanding Volunteer Award in recognition of his ongoing efforts, which have now raised more than $350,000.
Their first event, the Roger’s House Walk, Roll and Run, was held in 2007 just after Maddy died, and raised $20,000. Shortly thereafter, Otto and his family organized Maddy’s Gala Dinner, an ongoing fundraising event that supports volunteers at Roger’s House, so that they can continue to provide assistance to children and families.
The family says their mission is "to keep Maddy's spirit alive, we raise funds for Roger's House in her honour. It helps us to know that other families who require palliative care can have the same resources we did."
"Roger’s House supported us through this horrific time and they still do to this day…we didn’t know what Roger’s House was until 2007 and sadly it was when we needed it,” Otto said. “This was a place that held us together as we struggled to put one foot in front of the other and helped us to find the strength to get out of bed every day. We had a place we could freely go to and this was a vital part of our grieving process.”
Otto joined Aramark in 2009, and worked first as a sous chef, and later as a purchasing manager. He also lends his culinary skills to students, working as a teacher in the culinary program at Algonquin College of Ottawa. His passion for service is an inspiration for his colleagues, who are encouraged by his work to give what they can for their community.
“I believe when corporations support volunteerism, it raises the bar for individuals to participate,” he said. “Aramark is one of the best companies I know, and truly walks the walk when it comes to community involvement.”