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Faces of the Y: Rafael Lujan

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Rafael Lujan – Laundry Manager

Rafael Lujan

Rafael Lujan can still remember the exact day he began working at YMCA of the Rockies. “It was a Thursday when I filled out my application, and by Saturday, October 23rd I was hired,” Lujan said.

That was 13 years ago, and today Lujan works as the Laundry Manager for the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park. “Since my first day, this has been my second home,” Lujan said. “Time has gone by so fast because I’ve been so comfortable here.”

Lujan worked as a laundry attendant, driver, and assistant supervisor before becoming the manager. “I feel lucky as a manager because, out of the eight hours, I maybe spend one hour a day in my office. I love working with the laundry staff, and they see me as a friend as well as a manager,” Lujan said.

Lujan, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, lived in Chicago and Kansas before coming to the YMCA. He now lives with his wife and two daughters in Loveland. Though it’s roughly a 50 minute commute, Lujan says he doesn’t mind the drive. “If I didn’t like my job, maybe it would bother me, but I love being here, and so the drive isn’t bad,” Lujan said.

Though his daughters are too young to work at the YMCA, Lujan says they always enjoy making the drive with him. “My daughters both love coming to the YMCA and seeing where I work,” Lujan said

As the manager, Lujan directs all of the incoming and outgoing towels and linens, as well as managing the washing, drying, and folding processes that often involve large, complicated machines. Lujan says that the large capacity washers can be strenuous work, so he schedules staff to ensure that they are doing something different every day.

Lujan enjoys the amount of time he gets to spend working closely with seasonal and full time staff. “I spend half of my days with these people, and they really are a family, it’s incredible to me,” Lujan said.

Lujan has also enjoyed interacting with guests as a part of his job. “At one point in my job, I was going to rooms to fix blinds for guests, and I would always stop and take a minute to talk with them. I enjoyed talking with them, and they enjoyed getting to know me,” Lujan said.

After his many years at the YMCA, Lujan can’t pick a favorite memory. “This entire 13 years is my greatest memory. Every day here has been great for me.”

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