A flood of nominations poured in for Angie Lozano to be a Verde Valley Champion. In many of those nominations, Lozano was described as an angel who spreads her wings to protect those in need.
Lifetime Achiever Lozano has strong roots in the Verde Valley. She was born in Cottonwood, raised in Jerome, and at age 13, moved to Clarkdale.
Most people know Lozano from Angie’s House – the first homeless shelter in the Verde Valley which provides immediate housing for qualified residents impacted by addiction, homelessness, and mental illness.
She used her own money to support the safe haven.
“Angie’s House grew out of trying to provide a housing need that wasn’t being met, but ultimately it was to give people a place where they are accepted and loved,” said Lozano.
There are now 10 recovery and transitional homes in Cottonwood.
It was important to Lozano for the housing to be local so people wouldn’t have to move away to find help.
“Most people talk about doing something but Angie actually did something,” was a statement echoed in many of the nominations.
The humanitarian allows people to have pets at Angie’s House, understanding the emotional bond between animal and owner.
Lozano belongs to the Verde Valley Humane Society Board, along with other community organizations. She makes a difference in the lives of both humans and animals, and her passion for pets hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I know how terrible it feels when your pet is sick and the only thing stopping you from getting them help is the cost,” said Lozano.
She’s heard heartbreaking stories of pets dying in their owner’s arms.
“Oh, I don’t ever want to hear that,” said Lozano shaking her head.
She helps with veterinarian costs, and explained if the animal gets seen soon enough, sometimes all that is needed is medication.
Her love for pets stems from childhood, when she would dress up her cats and wheel them around in a baby stroller.
It is important to Lozano to treat people with dignity and respect.
She also is accepting of people of where they are at the moment.
“I don’t judge,” she said.
Her mother, who she considers a mentor, taught her that each and every person is someone’s loved one: a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother, an aunt, or an uncle.
“I always keep that in mind,” she said.
Her day is typically busy, but the cliché is true: If you love what you do, it’s like you’re not really working.
“I will see people on a daily basis and they will come up and give me a hug. Sometimes I don’t remember them, but as they start to tell me, it’s like, ‘oh my gosh, that’s so and so from three years ago.’ And they are doing well. And it’s like ‘wow, here’s my son, or my new car, or we just moved into our own place,’ and just to hear all of that,” she said.
It’s rewarding for her to know she has helped so many. While it is really the individuals who are doing the work, it is Lozano who is encouraging them to get where they need to go.
When asked where her passion for helping others comes from, she paused to reflect.
“I really believe it came from knowing what it feels like to be the underdog,” said Lozano, referring to being a victim of childhood bullying.
“I was just always rooting for the underdog. All the time,” she said.
Lozano is happy that there is now a campaign against bullying – something she believes can affect a person into adulthood.
Lozano said it was a humbling experience to find out she had been recognized as a lifetime achiever. She also was surprised.
“Because I’ve been in the community for a long time. And I’ve kinda done this for so long. But I will tell you that it’s such a great feeling to have something like that because it’s basically saying ‘hey we appreciate you’ and it’s huge,” she explained.
“It feels like I’m loved – that’s what it feels like. Loved and appreciated. And that’s a great feeling. But yes, a huge surprise,” she said.
Lozano wasn’t always in the public eye, but changed that after she met a mother and daughter in Prescott Valley who weren’t aware of the services available in Cottonwood.
“So I said no, I’ve got to reach out and start letting as many people know about the services, so that people who need them can get them,” she said.
Lozano thinks it’s sweet to be called an angel.
Her father – who passed away 13 years ago – was the first one to call her that.
“Yeah, so whenever I hear that, it brings a lot of warm feelings inside, and a little bit of sadness because he’s not here and he used to say that,” she said.
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