Vickie Rakich, member services, who has been with the YMCA since Feb. 25, 1976, is always determined to come to work every day one way or another.
Rakich rides her bike to work every day, no matter what the weather is.
“If the street is full of snow, I ride my bike and call it the snow elliptical to get through the snow,” Rakich said. “Riding your bike is a good form of exercise.”
Rakich, who is originally from Chicago, moved to Hammond in 1973 and has been living in Hammond ever since.
“Ann Howard told me about the YMCA to get a job here,” Rakich said. “I use to babysit for her and was interested in a job and she got me the job here.”
Rakich started out working the rooms with racquetball equipment when she first started at the YMCA.
“Betty Pool first trained me on how to do locker room control and how to do my job,” Rakich said.
Rakich taught Wee Folk Gym and Swim, teaching kids how to swim and play gym.
Throughout the years, Rakich worked her way up. Rakich use to do inventory for the clothes, socks, shirts, sell pool accessories, hand out basketball equipment and have people check out towels.
Rakich, who was a regular participant of the exercise class called “noon fitness”, took over the program for a little bit while the sports director was on vacation.
“I have met a lot of good people, and have many long lasting relationships,” Rakich said. “Some of the people are still here from throughout the years.”
Lynette McDermott, Community Relations Director of the Hammond Branch, has been working with Rakich for the last seven years.
“Vickie is very nice, helpful to people and she knows everyone by their name,” McDermott said. “Whenever you see Vickie, she always has a smile on her face and takes her job seriously.”
Rakich said the people are the reason for her to come to work every day.
“I always have a smile and there are people who come down and I ask what is wrong and try to cheer them up,” Rakich said. “I know the members by their name here.”