Only six months ago did Michele Castrilli of Liverpool, 64, begin volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House, but she has already made her mark as an outstanding asset to the organization.
She was honored April 30 at a small gathering for the house's volunteers at Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub in Syracuse.
Castrilli has worked in modeling and fashion for years. After many years of doing some modeling work herself and giving modeling training as well, she now works as a sales representative Oleander in Armory Square.
Putting her two favorite interests to work, Castrilli decided to organize a fashion show fundraising event for the Ronald McDonald House. She took her idea to Jennifer Saraceni, the developmental director for Ronald McDonald House.
"She has done lots of modeling and has a great knowledge of fashion," Saraceni. "It was her first fundraiser she's ever done," Saraceni said. "I don't think she knew what she was in for."
The event will now be known annually as the Bella Casa Celebrity Fashion Show.
Although organizing and running an event like this one can be stressful, Saraceni said that Castrilli used her modeling and fashion experience to its fullest while others helped with other planning.
On the other side of the team organizing the event, Castrilli said she couldn't have done it without Saraceni's leadership on the fundraiser.
"Jennifer was wonderful," Castrilli said. "I can't say enough."
Saraceni described Castrilli's dedication as wonderful because even when she was set to take a vacation in Florida during to March with her husband, she was working on the event.
"She had her husband buy her a laptop so she could keep communicating with us and work on the event," Saraceni said.
Castrilli said she wouldn't be able to enjoy her vacation knowing that she wasn't helping the event in all its planning stages.