The sweltering Texas sun beamed bright overhead as Mayra Hernandez shoveled soil into an area that would soon become a community vegetable garden.
It was high noon, and despite the July heat, Hernandez, along with about 70 others, worked hard to make the new affordable living duplex come to life.
“We have two hands – one for helping our self and another for helping others,” said Hernandez, a section manager for second shift structure subs at Caterpillar Victoria’s hydraulic excavator facility. “It feels phenomenal knowing that our hard work will make a huge difference in our community.”
Hernandez, along with about 375 other Caterpillar Victoria employees, participated in the Caterpillar Day of Caring through Victoria County United Way. The large volunteer event allowed for Caterpillar employees to assist in 19 projects throughout Victoria.
From painting homes and fences to sorting food and items, employees say they were happy to help make a difference in their community.
While Hernandez was part of a larger project this year, she has helped before in other aspects, such as sorting food at the food bank.
Every person’s effort counts though, she said.
“I think it’s amazing that everybody plays their part to help the community,” she added.
To pull off such a large volunteer event took weeks of planning. A site manager was assigned to each volunteer site, and the leadership team worked hard to make sure volunteers were placed where they were needed most.
The 70-plus volunteers at the North Street Apartment project played a major hand in helping prepare the small apartment complex for renters, said Hernandez, who was the site manager.
The complex of duplex homes was substandard years ago, and the housing conditions only worsened after Hurricane Harvey devastated the region in August 2017.
Day of Caring turnout was a record for Caterpillar Victoria. Usually about 150 sign up to volunteer, but this year serves as a reminder that employees in Victoria are truly living Caterpillar’s Values in Action.
Brooke Garcia, executive director for Victoria County United Way, said she was amazed by the number of volunteers and thankful for all the hard work put it at the 19 projects throughout the city of nearly 70,000.
“The commitment of the companies in this area is truly amazing,” said Garcia. “For a company such as Caterpillar Victoria, to send more than 300 employees into the community to help the nonprofit organizations, many of which would not be able to complete these necessary projects without volunteer help, says a lot about the character of Caterpillar’s leaders and the culture of the company.”