Kris Johnson, Operations Manager, Longview Division
May 17th looked like a pretty typical day of dispatch and work for the Longview division during the paving season. The day was full of grinding, sweeping, prepping, and paving, with QC watching over it all. The project called for 350 tons of inlay and overlay work nestled within a neighborhood in the small town of Kalama, WA.
There were plenty of neighborhood residents watching and talking with our crews as they performed their work. One resident, however, gave the Longview crew an opportunity to show this tight-knit community who Lakeside really is.
Grade foreman, Pete Irwin, struck up a conversation early in the day with an elderly homeowner named Janice. Pete had asked if it would be okay for us to park the pickup trucks, roller trailers, and other equipment on the street in front of her house and in her driveway. She replied with a welcoming “yes,” thanking the crew for repairing their neighborhood roadway. Not too much was thought of this conversation and the work continued throughout the day.
As the day was wrapping up, Pete found himself in conversation with Janice. She began to tell her story, “I’m a transplant to Kalama from California. I moved up here six years ago following the death of my husband and purchased this house. It was built in the 1890s and I just fell in love with it from the first time I laid eyes on it.”
Pete discussed how beautiful her home was but prior to him finishing, Janice said, “I’ve really let the yard work get away from me. My son also lives in Kalama, but he had gotten ill this past year and is no longer able to help me with anything, let alone this yard.”
Pete told her how sorry he was about her son. Janice then asked, “Do you know any young people in Kalama that I could hire to get my yard back in shape? I just don’t know many people in this town and do not know how to find someone.” Pete asked for her contact info and said he would ask around to see if he could find someone that would be able to perform this work.
Pete immediately grabbed Alex McMillian, paving foreman, and Jeff McMillian, paving superintendent and began to devise a plan. This plan would include a Lakeside Longview volunteer work party. The crews would bring their personal tools and equipment and head to Janice’s home on their day off to clean up her yard. As with any plan involving the Longview paving crew, grading crew, and QC department, all members were in!
The rest of this story is just what you would think … a very kind elderly lady beside herself with the generosity of a company’s employees. Neighbors too were taken aback as they stopped by. Was the same crew that ground, graded, and paved the streets now working to help this elderly woman? They too were taken back by the kindhearted employees of Lakeside’s 080 division. This is all done not for a pat on the back or for some positive PR, but because each person said, “It’s the right thing to do”.
So, when people ask why Lakeside Industries, Inc. stands out from other companies in the Northwest, it comes down to the generosity of our people. ALL our Lakeside Divisions have made such an impact on their communities through their commitment to caring for one another. Putting the impact they have made into words is difficult, but it comes down to the love we have for those around us. Our employees truly are some of the most compassionate and selfless people and it is an honor to work alongside such amazing people.