Those of us who work in the congested world of South Jersey have no earthly idea of just how big the great state of Texas is. I was reminded of that when I took a cab from Houston’s George Bush International to my hotel on a recent United Way trip. I drove for an hour on the Sam Houston Tollway and thought my cabbie was taking advantage of an old gringo by driving me to Los Angeles. Nope, just to the Marriott. Houston, like the rest of Texas, goes on forever. It’s just damn BIG.
Another thing that we don’t know about back east –I certainly didn’t – was the great ways that the folks out at the Houston TRC are involved in their community. Now, those of us not directly connected to ARI might not know that our relentlessly expanding fleet management operation has two call centers (or Technical Resource Centers – TRC’s – in ARI-speak) in Texas, where technicians field questions 24/7 to make sure the drivers of ARI’s managed vehicles spend more time on the road and less in repair shops. And my recent visit to Houston opened my eyes to the culture of community engagement there.
First, they’ve got a great relationship with the Special Olympics. They volunteer at the events, helping with the day and cheering on the competitors. Here’s some photos that Houston PIE advocate Kayla Ferguson sent to me.
And earlier this summer, the Holman Community Committee gave an Employee Donation to “Philly Dan” Snyder, one of the Houston stalwarts, to support his own fundraising efforts for the Special Olympics. On November 13-14, Dan will rappel 20 stories down the face of the Embassy Suites Downtown Houston as part of the “Over the Edge” event. (If you’ve got any unfinished business with Dan, you may want to take care of that now.) Dan’s reflections on the Special Olympics capture well the spirit of the Houston TRC: “We continue to recognize our blessings after viewing firsthand the challenges that these athletes face on a daily basis… I’ve found that these types of events give back much more than they receive from our involvement.”
Folks at the TRC also help out at the Houston Food Bank. Kayla also sent me some photos of a recent trip there.
And to top it off, the Houston crew recently sent a team to the Katy, TX, Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The effort was spearheaded by Dave Tucker and Manny Castaneda, and fueled by a Community Sponsorship by Holman. Here’s a collage of images that Dave put together for us.
Now the Houston team’s got their eyes set on a Rebuilding Together – Houston event slated for October 17. Rebuilding Together is a national organization that repairs homes for no cost for elderly homeowners, and Dave Tucker is putting together a team to help out.
So don’t mess with Texas, and don’t underestimate the good folks at the Houston TRC. They’ve got a thing or two to teach us about giving back to their community.