When Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates launched their Twelve Months of Giving a few years back, the staff were behind it 100 percent. “We have delivered food to the food bank,” says Julie Cobb, the Tumwater clinic supervisor. “We’ve planted a lot of trees, gathered school supplies over the summer, a chili drive for Homeless Backpacks…” The list goes on.
Many local organizations benefit from their work because project suggestions come from the staff. “It’s nice working for a company where any employee can come up with an idea and if there is interest we do it,” says Julie. “We appreciate what Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates does for the community, so we strive to do something every month. And it gives a chance for different members of the staff who don’t normally get to work together to do something.”
That will be especially true in April when Julie and 13 other staff members will be flying to La Hormiga, Puerto Rico with the mission of helping clean-up and rebuild from the Hurricane Maria. The trip is organized through Experience Mission but there has still been a lot of coordination through the clinic. While Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates has hosted other long-distance volunteer missions, this will be their first non-medical trip that involves all level of staff. From medical personnel and reception to the owner and the CEO, various types of employees are participating. Consequently, there will be a good representation of all the people that make Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates such a great organization.
With 14 staff members out at the same time, the volunteers are being drawn from all six Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates clinics in the area – Tumwater, Olympia, Centralia, Tacoma, Yelm, and the newest clinic in Lacey. Those remaining will be covering for their co-workers while they are on the trip.
“We were going to go last fall,” says Morgan Campbell, clinic supervisor for the Tumwater office, “but then another hurricane hit.” The devastation in Puerto Rico is estimated to be anywhere from $43 to $159 billion and tens of thousands of lost lives. If ever there was a good cause, Puerto Rico is definitely at the top of the list.
The volunteers from Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates will be working closely with the local community. And, while they will likely face many obstacles, after talking with Morgan and Julie, their determination is certain to overcome those challenges.
Immersion and Roughing It
“I am nervous and I am excited,” says Morgan. “We are going to be completely out of our comfort zone. We will be sleeping on the floor of a church and taking cold showers.” With a laugh she adds, “This is not a luxury vacation.”
The trip will be an immersion into the culture of Puerto Rico as the struggle continues to resume a normal life. Meals will be prepared by the local community for the team and they will be working side by side with those in need.
“I have been on vacations where we’ve been kept separate from the locals,” says Julie, “and that is not what this is like. We will see what their real life is like. You hear things on the news, but to see it in person, well, it will make an impact the news cannot.”
Though not completely certain what projects they will be taking on, they do know it will be general clean-up and repair from the hurricane, including building repair, roof replacement, basically whatever needs to be done to make it more livable.
Julie and Morgan made it clear that everyone at the clinics are helping in this volunteer mission – it takes the support of the whole staff to keep the clinics running with 14 employees out of reach. That thoughtfulness, and their true passion for helping others, is what sets Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates apart from many other employers.
Though this employee volunteer mission is over 3,700 miles away, local volunteerism has paved the way for these two. “It’s doing things like delivering food to the food bank,” says Julie, “because I always get something out of an experience where you get results instead of putting a check in the mail. When you are helping someone in need and you see their face – whether internationally, or locally. That is something we try to do as a company every day.”
To keep up to date on the progress of their mission, visit the Foot and Ankle Surgical Associate’s mission webpage. Or visit their home page for details on location and services.