“I’m leaving for personal reasons,” she said. She will be moving to Nashville, Tenn., with her children to join a friend, a musician who has been living and working in the country music center for years.
The main reason for the move will be the opportunity to find treatment for a rare medical condition her 14-year-old daughter, Taylor, has.
The problem was discovered by the staff at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Ramirez said the doctors there are better equipped to treat the condition.
“I won’t be working at first,” Ramirez said. Her initial priority will be to see that Taylor’s condition improves.
Ramirez has another daughter, 11-year-old Haley. She will be moving with the family.
Once Taylor’s condition improves, Ramirez said she would like to find a job in the entertainment industry in Nashville.
“This decision was not made overnight,” Ramirez said. She took the position as the chamber’s tourism director almost seven years ago and moved here from Falfurrias.
“I’ve made a lot of relationships and friendships, and the people of Bee County are amazing,” Ramirez said.
Although Ramirez has been pretty much running the CofC offices since the director left months ago, she said the chamber board has been supportive of her decision to leave. Board members agree that family comes first.
Ramirez said she was told that the chamber probably would not hire another tourism director but would let a new chamber director handle that end of the operation once a new person is in that position.
“I hope the person who does take the job is just as dedicated and willing to go above and beyond,” Ramirez said.
She has no doubts about finding work in Nashville when her daughter’s health improves. Ramirez has gained experience and training with the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Group, the Texas Travel Industry Association and has been involved with the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau, from which she received a marketing certificate.
That helped Ramirez when she took part in preparing a marketing plan for Bee County.
In addition, Ramirez has been active with the Texas Festival Events Association and has attended the Texas Tourism College for the past three years.
Ramirez said the tourism center will still be located at the chamber office even after she leaves.
Local residents and visitors interested in tourism opportunities will still be able to stop by and find information about events and tourism opportunities any time the office is open.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.