Like many in the Midwest, we at ES&S have been humbled by the flooding this spring – there are few who have not been impacted in some way by the floodwaters. For some ES&S employees, the devastation hit even closer to home.
“We became our own island,” said Mitch Kopisch, Election Services production manager. His home, located between Fremont and Arlington, NE, was surrounded by water flooding from the Elkhorn River and Rawhide Creek. He and his wife were finally able to find a road dry enough to leave their flooded acreage for more supplies more than a week after the flooding began.
It was two weeks before Order Entry Specialist Dietra Poitier and her fiancé were allowed back into their brand-new home. “At first, the worst part was just not knowing,” she said. “When I finally saw it, I just kind of broke down. Everything on the floor — the furniture, our appliances — was unsalvageable.”
Margaret Humbert, corporate collections specialist, and her husband, along with their grandson, were trapped in their Valley home for days before the water receded. She and her family did their best to save the precious family heirlooms they were keeping for their nieces and nephews, but in the end, the water that breached the levee and rushed into their home did its worst.
“We have the pictures on the walls, and the memories, but besides that, we lost almost everything.”
Lean on me
ES&S employees have been doing what they can to make life easier on their coworkers.
“Being able to concentrate on trying to stay afloat and knowing that things at work were still being taken care of was a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Mitch. His teammate, Election Audio Specialist Ronaldo Valadez, has been keeping him in the loop while he’s rebuilding at home.
“My team has been so supportive. They’ve taken on my work to give me the ability to focus on rebuilding at home, and two of my coworkers offered to let us stay with them. People I don’t even work with every day, who work on my floor, have been texting and emailing me asking how they can help,” said Dietra.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team or manager,” said Margaret. “Just the emails and texts from everyone, making sure we were okay, asking if they could help us clean up when the water went down – my team would do whatever I needed, and I would do the same for them.”
The gift of service
In response to the disaster, ES&S has donated $10,000 to the Red Cross’ efforts in the area and given each employee an extra day of paid volunteer service, in addition to the existing day of service employees already receive.
Vicki Nelson, vice president of Human Resources, is encouraging ES&S employees to take the time to help their peers. “Service and volunteerism are such a big part of the culture at ES&S already – when a disaster like this flood occurs, it’s our natural reaction to respond with care and concern. It’s wonderful to see our employees take the initiative to help their coworkers and neighbors, and we’re proud to support them in doing so.”
“This tragedy has affected so many in our community and our company. We consider it an honor to support the Red Cross as they provide aid to Midwesterners recovering from the flooding, and we will continue to support our affected employees as they rebuild,” said CFO Tom O’Brien.
A helping hand
It’s the support, says Margaret, that is the most overwhelming. “Almost immediately, we got a call from Vicki Nelson, our vice president of HR. She offered anything we needed – a hotel if we couldn’t stay in our home, food, anything.”
“I was really impressed by the company’s response,” said Mitch. “To have the Vice President of Human Resources know where we were at, call us to make sure we were alright – that meant a lot to us.”
“The outpouring of support we have received, in general, and from ES&S, has been amazing,” said Dietra. “To have Tom O’Brien reach out to us, to have Vicki reach out to us… even though this horrible thing has happened, it’s just proof to me that there are still good people in the world, and there are still great companies who really care about their employees.”
“ES&S steps up,” said Margaret. “That’s a fact.”