The challenges of Hurricane Harvey brought out the best in several employees of Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
The plastics and chemicals firm, based in The Woodlands, Texas, recognized some of these efforts in an Aug. 25 news release. Harvey hit the Texas coast on Aug. 25, bringing with it heavy rains and flooding.
CP Chem employees who "went above and beyond" during and after Hurricane Harvey to help the local community and their fellow CP Chem employees included :
- Jason Meyer and Rusty Till, maintenance specialists at Chevron Phillips Chemical's Cedar Bayou facility
Meyer and Till are avid boaters, officals said, so when Hurricane Harvey flooded the neighborhoods around them, they ran rescue missions for several days.
Meyer and two friends took out his boat and met up with Meyer's brother-in-law, who also was ready with his boat. The group connected with the Old River Navy through the Zello push-to-talk app and worked with dispatcher Susan Zabranek, wife of Meyer's colleague, Robert Zbranek, maintenance planner/scheduler at Cedar Bayou. The group evacuated stranded residents across Baytown for three days.
"I told my wife that we are so fortunate, so blessed our house was not flooded," Till said. "I couldn't sit around while I had a way to help people."
Till estimates they helped evacuate at least 40 people over three days. His wife, Beth, took donations from neighbors, purchased supplies and rounded up friends to help deliver the goods to shelters. They also delivered dozens of pizzas to volunteers and people cleaning up their homes.
- Pedro Alvarez, consolidations and reporting specialist in finance at corporate headquarters
Alvarez escaped major damage to his home during the hurricane, officials said, but with flooding all around him, he was looking for a way to help. "One of my friends, Kenny Delgado, had just purchased a boat and felt compelled to take action," he said. "I felt fortunate to be able to help."
Alvarez and Delgado used the Zello app and Google Maps, which created a Harvey rescue layer, to join other rescue teams in areas of need around Houston.
"A crew from CNN flagged down our boat and asked if they could ride with us," Alvarez said. "For several days, we took them close into areas that were severely impacted by Harvey, and they filmed a few stories."
Alvarez estimated they rescued approximately 90 people in areas including Cypresswood, Rice Village and Bear Creek Village near the Addicks Reservoir.
- Seán O'Loughlin, supply chain performance specialist, polymers & specialties and his colleague John Washer, odorants sales representative, Americas, polymers & specialties.
O'Loughlin lives in the Spring area with his wife, three young children and three dogs. Officials said that he watched the storm carefully, but Cypress Creek rose rapidly and areas that had never flooded began taking on water. "In a matter of hours, I had two-and-a-half feet of water in my home," O'Loughlin said.
His colleague Washer was checking on friends from his home in Magnolia when he learned O'Loughlin needed help. He drove his truck carefully down to pick up O'Loughlin and his family. At the same time, O'Loughlin saw a rescue boat with volunteers and members of the Klein Fire Department. He flagged them down and called Washer to let him know the boat's drop-off location. Washer was waiting when the O'Loughlin family disembarked with little more than the clothes they were wearing.
"John insisted we stay at his home, and he has his hands full with three children, too," O'Loughlin said. "We could not believe his family's kindness. It was incredible."
As word about O'Loughlin's situation spread, Dennis Pogar, Americas sales manager, Specialty Chemicals, circulated an email to colleagues and friends, proposing a team-building event to clear out the O'Loughlin's house.
The team included polymers & specialties employees John Beighle, Patrick Christman, Tim Woll, Marvin White, Ryan Pritchard and Elan Watson. Specialty chemicals general manager Venki Chandrashekar and CP Chem retiree Mike Taber also joined the crew. Rail operations manager Jill Hodges loaned the family a car until they can replace their vehicles, both of which were a total loss.
"I am so grateful for all the help I have received," O'Loughlin said. "My colleagues helped my family get our lives stabilized so much more quickly than I thought possible. They helped us immeasurably."
"We have a company full of heroes and incredible people," CEO and President Mark Lashier said in the release. "These extraordinary employees, and many others across our company, answered the call to help our communities in a time of great need."