Posted Saturday, August 18, 2018 9:54 pm
By COLBY DENTON
Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland was host to numerous Verizon Wireless volunteers from around the country on Tuesday, thanks to an impromptu meeting between the two organizations.
It started several months ago, when Habitat construction director Tyler Bramlett needed a new phone from his local Russell Cellular Verizon store. Upon discovering his affiliation to Habitat, the Verizon workers began asking how they could get more involved with the organization.
“The guy said they’ve been looking for ways to get more involved in the community,” Bramlett said. “I passed on his info to my director, Tammy Johnson, and she ran with it.”
Upon receiving the Verizon contact information, Johnson visited and spoke with the phone store’s managers, who were all excited to get involved with Habitat. The store was interested in sponsoring a build, which involves workers helping on job sites. The manager also added a donation option at the five local Russell Cellular Verizon stores in the area throughout the month of June, with the option being $10. Overall, the stores raised more than $1,200 through this drive alone.
Johnson said despite people often doubting their abilities to make an impact, this proves a small group of people can make a massive difference.
“Look at what everyone collectively did, from donating their time to raising funds,” Johnson said. “The fact these executives took the time to drive and fly in says a lot about the company.”
Verizon is a new partner for Habitat, and as a result, Verizon district manager Jason Foster invited not only fellow managers, but also top executives at the company, to come out and volunteer. Many agreed.
During the Tuesday volunteer event, top Verizon executives flew in from Missouri and also drove up from Atlanta and Alabama to help work on the future home of Felecia Kelley for Habitat. Kelley’s home is Habitat’s Blitz Build home. For those unaware, a Blitz Build involves getting as many materials as possible and building the home within one to two weeks.
Verizon provides an international discount to Habitat employees, which Johnson said is an established partnership which has ultimately led to this larger collaboration and may lead to potential future ones, as Russell Cellular Verizon has more than 400 stores around the country.
“This isn’t something the Verizon executives do all the time, so this is really an honor,” said volunteer services manager LaManda Bowers said. “We were ecstatic. Every time we get a new partner, there are growth opportunities, including more hands on deck to help in the community. We’re grateful and very humbled these executives would do a community-wide service event through their customers’ organization.”
Tasks for the executives on the job site included caulking, installing interior shelves and painting.
Bowers added seeing Verizon do something like volunteer shows it’s much more than a phone company. It cares about the community.
Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland is located at 300 Grove Ave., and can be reached at 423-473-4610.