Ozzy Ramos, a great role model. a true friend of our youth is a friend of ASPIRA. Ozzy Ramos grew up on Brooklyn’s tough streets and in the even tougher Marine Corps—but neither prepared him for losing his wife, daughter and stepson to AIDS. Now the retired officer has a new mission: finding HIV-affected families a home in which to heal.
Six years ago, retired United States Marine staff sergeant Ozzy Ramos was browsing through a furniture store in Fredericksburg, Virginia, when he came across a painting that would change his life. It showed an orange door, surrounded by clouds, open halfway as if to say, “Come in,” Ramos recalls. It wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but he was spellbound and couldn’t figure out why. On impulse, he picked it up, plunked down $230 and hauled it to his office, where he works in security clearance for the government. Ramos hung the picture, called “Opportunity Knocks,” above his desk, sure that a higher force had moved him to buy it. “I would glance at the picture and keep on working, just waiting for something to happen,” says Ramos, now 48, in an easygoing tone one might not expect from a veteran military officer. “This painting was telling me to do something.”