Heroes Rise Up to Aid Victims of Hurricane Harvey
It's been one year since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast and many people are still struggling in the aftermath of the storm. The following story is a reprint that we originally shared internally in September 2017 to commend the efforts of our employees.
Weeks have passed since we first heard of Hurricane Harvey's devastating impacts but Marathon Oil employees are making efforts to pave the road to recovery. In many affected areas, employees have stepped up to volunteer and lend a helping hand. And while there is still work to be done, one thing remains true: in the face of adversity, Marathon Oil employees have gone above and beyond to aid in their communities and help those in need.
The following stories represent just a few of the countless examples of our employees who have donated time and resources to assist those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Company is proud of your contributions.
Kimberly is no stranger to flooding. Her Meyerland home in Houston was prone to flooding prior to Harvey and as a result, it had to be elevated. When she noticed her neighborhood was being impacted by the tropical storm Harvey, she took immediate action not only by sheltering families but transforming her home into a command center where individuals could easily access meals and supplies.
"In our home, we've flooded twice. So we've gone through how awful it is to have your home flood. During this flood we were able to have a number of families stay with us because we were a higher home. Once we were able to get back into our community, it made sense to have a central spot where we could coordinate volunteers and serve meals."
Once people heard of Kimberly's efforts, they too were inspired to help out. As days went by, more and more volunteers joined her cause. Over 50 individuals, organized under Kimberly's leadership, began taking requests from families in need and venturing out into the community to help in any way they could.
When asked what inspired her she said, "When our home flooded, we found a lot of help from friends, our church and co-workers at Marathon Oil who helped us both times. So being in a situation now where so much of my community flooded, we just were really thankful that we could have a way to give back."
Kimberly's benevolent actions garnered support from friends, church members and co-workers. But she emphasizes that there are still areas that need assistance.
"Right now, a lot of communities have water that is just starting to go down. They're just now able to get back into their homes and they need help getting stuff out to prevent additional damage from mold. There's also a lot of low-income communities around the city that people are just starting to get to, so there's a lot of opportunities for people to volunteer and make a difference.
"It's been really powerful to see the Marathon Oil community come together. We have a Facebook page where people can write about the needs they have or about people they know that were impacted. Seeing departments go out and help co-workers clean out their homes. It's been really powerful to see them coming together. Also hearing stories from fellow co-workers of how they've been helping their neighbors, from washing clothes, cooking meals, driving people and volunteering at George R. Brown, it's really great to see how involved our employees are."
Involved is absolutely right. Employees from various locations have made generous contributions to help with Marathon Oil's Hurricane relief efforts. Kourtni, an employee at our Eagle Ford office in Gonzales mobilized a team of volunteers that ventured out to impacted areas with supplies and food. Her mission was to ensure that smaller towns impacted by Hurricane Harvey were not forgotten.
After days of traveling to different towns in need she stated: "People were calling us from all over wanting to help. We had trucks delivering supplies to Bloomington, Tivoli, Seadrift, all the small towns on the coast. We had volunteers who could stay with the supplies and help the community get what they needed. A friend and I loaded her truck and decided to go door to door to make sure that the elderly that couldn't get to us had help. We also hand delivered supplies and cases of water."
In addition to Kourtni, others stepped up to help in a major way. Mike from our Oklahoma City office heard of the events taking place in South Texas and traveled to Houston with his wife and boat to assist with water rescues. After learning his boat was too big to assist, he proceeded to buy another and was able to rescue about a dozen individuals.
Our emergency preparedness manager, Niell, also played an incredible role in executing water rescues. As a former government employee, Niell is no stranger to preparing for severe storms. He worked to develop plans for Hurricanes such as Ike, Rita and Katrina. For Hurricane Harvey, Niell began planning by monitoring the storm, communicating with government authorities and informing business continuity team leaders about each phase of the storm's progression.
"We started participating in regular meetings and analyzing the situation, hand-in-hand... All during the storm we were taking calls, getting e-mails and text messages from Marathon employees requesting assistance. Some calls I would get that would indicate, 'Hey, I've called 911 and I've been waiting 4-5 hours now, the water is continuing to rise and I'm getting scared. Can you help me?'"
Niell, along with a team of six individuals from the Emergency Preparedness group, were responsible for assisting with the evacuations of a number of Marathon Oil employees and their families.
Hurricane Harvey had a tremendous impact on South Texas, and recovery will take time.
"Many of our employees have been personally impacted, and when you extend that to family and friends in the area, the personal connection to loss and tragedy is staggering," said VP Deanna Jones. "I'm grateful that we're at a stage where those of us who didn't suffer losses can connect to help those who need it. I know many employees have already been volunteering through organizations in the city, through churches and directly with friends and neighbors. It's wonderful to see the power of volunteering.
"But, although we're back to business as usual in the office, the needs in the community still continue. We have an incredible opportunity to continue helping others, and I encourage everyone to find time in their schedules to volunteer this fall as our city begins to rebuild."
In recognition of the recovery efforts across South Texas, the company offered employees additional paid time off to use during the duration of 2017 to volunteer for Hurricane Harvey relief. In December 2017, a two-hour work shift at the Houston Food Bank was organized where Marathon Oil employees packed 18 pallets of food bags for the backpack buddy program, equivalent to 16,200 meals, and sorted 5,740 pounds of donations, equal to 4,784 meals, as well as doing food prep for 100 meals. The Company also donated approximately $600,000 to the American Red Cross, the Greater Houston Community Foundation, the United Way, Communities in Schools and other organizations.