Associates pitch in to clean up waste and debris after Hurricane Irma
By Andrea Shinn
Last month, more than 150 associates from across the Gartner Client Services Organization volunteered their time with local group Keep Lee County Beautiful to clean up the community after Irma left many areas full of debris and downed trees. The efforts were organized by CSO’s Volunteer Committee based in Fort Myers.
Each year, the committee polls the CSO to understand which causes they’d like to support in the coming year. This year, there was widespread interest in doing a project dedicated to the environment and sustainability. Lauren Hackler, an active member of the Volunteer Committee, reached out to local organizations and took the lead on partnering with Keep Lee County Beautiful.
Making strides in hurricane clean-up
Teams across CSO took turns volunteering at different local parks, rivers and even cemeteries. Client Partner Megan Thakkar’s team was assigned to clean up the Estero River in early October, soon after Hurricane Irma had passed.
“Our team took kayaks on the river right after the hurricane. We all worked together to pick up debris. A couple of people even got out of their kayaks and went into the mangroves to pick trash out of the water,” Megan said.
Megan’s team collected enough debris to fill a 20-yard dumpster. Local neighbors were so grateful for the help that they came outside to offer water and to work alongside the teams. “It was really rewarding to be able to meet the people we were directly impacting,” Megan commented.
A unique way to honor veterans
Other teams spent their volunteer day doing trail restoration and clean-up in local state parks, removing weeds from a community food forest and even cleaning up the Fort Myers cemetery. The cemetery clean-up efforts were conducted the day before Veteran’s Day and were focused on the Oakridge section of the cemetery, where numerous local veterans are buried.
“It was a rewarding experience and a great opportunity to give back to our community and local veterans. Some tombstones were completely covered in debris, so it was really nice to be able to honor the veterans and their families in this unique way,” said Leslie Nelson, Team Client Manager.
Positively impacting in the community
Mike Thomas, Program Coordinator for Keep Lee County Beautiful, worked alongside Gartner associates for 11 of the 12 volunteer events.
“Having your groups of volunteers available shortly after Hurricane Irma passed directly over Lee County was a blessing that helped many. I sincerely thank the Gartner team for all of the help they provided us. We were able to make large strides in getting our local communities back in shape and also removing much waste and debris from the environment,” commented Mike.
“It was really nice to have a team bonding day,” said Megan. “We were able to spend time together while also helping our community.”
Keep Lee County Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that has been operating in Lee County for the past 28 years. Its mission is to inspire, educate and engage the Lee County community in improving, beautifying and protecting the environment.
If you are interested in joining our team, search for an open job here.