Employees from Caliburn end 2020 with hope and meaning. The corporate leadership donated $5,000 to Toys for Tots, an organization dedicated to providing gifts to children in need during the holidays, on behalf of all Caliburn employees. The United States Marine Corps steps in each year to help coordinate the effort with firefighters all over the country, using firehouses as toy drop-offs.
Caliburn employees delivered $1,000 worth of newly purchased toys to one of the drop-off locations near Caliburn's headquarters in Reston, Va. Fairfax County Firehouse #31 received the gifts, purchased by Caliburn on behalf of all employees, with open arms.
"We focused on teenage children between 13 and 17 for our donations this year because the Toys for Tots organizers made us aware there was an urgent need for this age group," CEO Jim Van Dusen said. "It was a simple but meaningful gesture for us because we know how difficult this year has been for families."
Toys selected included STEM learning kits for teens as well as athletic gear, backpacks, pajamas, nail kits and colorful hats and gloves.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Will Bailey, a Fairfax County Virginia Fire and Rescue Toys for Tots volunteer organizer, "It's a great thing to see when businesses care enough to come out to the firehouses and deliver toys for the effort."
Making a difference
Last year the organization distributed nearly 109,000 toys. With COVID-19 as an obstacle this year, organizers were not sure how high the numbers would be, but optimism prevailed.
"Anytime we get a donation, big or small, it gives everyone a good feeling inside," Bailey said.
This is true for Caliburn. In addition to the toy and national check donation, Caliburn employees in several locations contributed to the Caliburn Toy Drive.
For example, employees from the Lenoir City, Tenn., office not only donated toys, but coats, shoes, sleeping bags, and bedding items that local children had on their lists. In Atlanta, Ga., employees donated more than 60 toys to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta as part of the organization's annual holiday toy drive.
Hope in El Paso
At the same time, in El Paso, Texas, where Caliburn is heading up COVID-response work, including an infusion therapy center, Van Dusen joined committed employees at a toy donation supporting the local El Paso community.
"It was an incredible sight to see all of the Caliburn employees gathering together to donate what looked like a mountain of toys to the Marine Corps," Van Dusen said.
In El Paso, Caliburn employee Michelle Hutton, the director of residential services for the companies' Humanitarian Services business unit, provides for the community on a daily basis by running a COVID-19-response team. Providing for a community in need was her "why" for coming to El Paso to help. But what she discovered has emotionally moved her.
"What I have found is the community giving to us," Hutton said.
The toy donation was one way of giving thanks to the El Paso community, which has embraced the Caliburn team. But more often than not, what the Caliburn team has found is a community that is showing up to care for first responders by giving random gifts, snacks for staff, games on the curbside, meals, Christmas light parades, hand-written letters from patient families to staff, stuffed animals for the nurse stations, and even hotel room upgrades.
Hutton said it is simply because they are first responders, helping out the El Paso community.
"This community has taught me people are still good and we are all in this together," she said. Hutton is one of many deployed first responders who came to El Paso to set up the COVID-response and a new initiative since November 2020 referred to as "infusion therapy," a process Caliburn doctors can administer to mitigate the need for hospitalizations and mortality rates with COVID patients.
"I am not from El Paso, but these are my people," Hutton said. "I am honored to serve them, to work beside them, but most importantly to fight this with them and we will rise together."
Offering employment hope during challenging times
Among the challenges of 2020, many people have lost employment because of the pandemic. Caliburn however continues to hire for COVID-19-response efforts, specifically in New York City and El Paso, Texas.
"It's an incredible team here at Caliburn and one that we are all proud to be a part of," according to Daniela Walrath, head of Human Resources for the company. "People who are out of work may see the spirit of giving here at Caliburn and decide they want to be part of a team like this," she said.
Walrath pointed to a significant number of openings around the world. "We have set up a career page specifically for applicants interested in doing everything from emergency COVID-19-response work in New York and Texas as well as other interesting positions around the globe."
Adding to this team spirit, service work appeals to many employees. "The values and ethics at Caliburn directly contribute to this strong desire to serve. When employees join the company, they want to feel a sense of pride and be led by leaders with a strong moral company; we have that at Caliburn," according to C.D. Moore, Caliburn's Chief Operating Officer.
"We start and end with values," Moore said. "When employees join the Caliburn team, we want them to feel a sense of pride and positivity toward the company and toward their colleagues and it is that value that is top of mind for us," he said.
Holding each other to a higher standard is a thread that weaves through the company. Reflecting on the difficult year, Van Dusen predicts, "If the Caliburn Holiday Toy Drive is any indication of the year ahead, 2021 will be filled with joy and hope for the new year."
Similar initiatives are expected to continue in 2021 as the company has instituted a new Corporate Social Responsibility effort to create social impact efforts all year long.
About Caliburn International, LLC: Caliburn is a leading provider of professional services and solutions to U.S. federal government agencies and commercial clients. The company provides consulting, engineering, medical, and environmental services as well as large-scale program management in support of its core markets of national defense, international diplomacy, healthcare, and homeland security client readiness. Caliburn employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals deployed across five continents. The company's website is www.caliburnintl.com.
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