Posted on Jul 02, 2007
John M Grau
Among the many homes and businesses devastated by Hurricane Katrina was J H Haynes Electric Company of Gulfport, Mississippi. On August 30, 2005, owner Jimmy Haynes discovered that every aspect of his company had been lost – the building, trucks, tools, and equipment. Jimmy faced the prospect of starting his business all over again from scratch or giving up.
However, only hours after Hurricane Katrina struck, NECA members and chapters had begun sending contributions to a fund set up to help NECA members impacted by Katrina, Rita and other natural disasters. Jimmy Haynes received a check for $30,000 from the disaster fund.
It might seem that $30,000 was a small amount considering the size of J H Haynes Electric’s loss, but Jimmy told me that money meant everything to him. He put the money to good use, buying the phones, tools, and equipment that he needed to get his company back in business. He couldn’t believe that NECA members from as far away as Kansas City, Detroit, New York and from all around the country would be so generous in creating the fund and helping him out, but that’s what happened.
At the NECA Southern Region Convention last week, Jimmy Haynes asked for a few moments on the agenda to tell his story and once again express his gratitude to NECA and its members. He then called District 3 Vice President and Disaster Relief Fund Chair Frank Russell to the podium, where Jimmy presented him with a check for $30,000 to repay the fund for the money he received. And then to everyone’s surprise, he handed Frank an additional check for $10,000 as his contribution to help other NECA members in future disasters.
It was a heartwarming moment of incredible generosity. Everyone in the room was proud to be a NECA member and know that they are associated with the best electrical contractors in the world.
As I said in my last post, NECA members may be each other’s competitors, but they understand each other’s risks and challenges that come with owning and managing a small business. They know what it takes to make it through a tough time, and they can appreciate each other’s successes. It’s this spirit of competitiveness and sharing that makes NECA so great. Thanks, Jimmy, for reminding us about what really matters.