The COVID-19 global pandemic may have slowed the world down for the past sixteen months, but it didn’t stop our dedicated employees from serving their communities. In fact, the pandemic was a somber reminder that one change in circumstance can put any one of us on the receiving end of a helping hand. It was also an illustration of the difference that can be made when compassionate neighbors come together to help one another.

The Swinerton Hero Award was established in 2017 to recognize employees for their outstanding community service. Winners of the coveted award are honored with a $1,000 donation to their charity partner from Swinerton.

2019 Hero: Mark Norin

On September 1, 2019, a Category 5 hurricane named Dorian made landfall in the northwestern Bahamas. Powerful winds of 185 mph, storm surges, and floods left more than 40 dead and destroyed many homes. It was the strongest hurricane in modern records to make landfall there.

As the storm raged on, meteorologists predicted that the hurricane would track up the eastern coast of the United States to coastal towns in the Carolinas, so Crisis Response International (CRI) and its team of volunteers made their way down the southeastern coast of the United States. Mark Norin was one of those volunteers.

Over the past three years, Mark has donated over 700 hours of his time to Crisis Response International. His work has helped ensure that people in dire situations have what they need, from food to diapers to cleaning supplies to emotional support. He leverages the relationships he’s made at Swinerton to procure equipment from industry trade partners during natural disasters. In addition to his work when disasters strike, Mark donates his time before the disaster comes, leading boot camp classes on chainsaws and deployment logistics.

2020 Hero: Pam Welty

When talks of a virus out of Wuhan, China began, no one could have imagined the magnitude of the devastation it would cause or how rapidly it would alter our lives. As local businesses started closing their doors, 20.5 million Americans were left without a steady income or food on the table. That’s when organizations and residents rallied together.

Traditionally, the San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation raises funds for student scholarships and school programs; but, during the pandemic, the organization shifted its focus to emergency food distribution. Once a month, volunteers safely distributed 400-800 bags of groceries to families in need of assistance at the College of San Mateo. Pam Welty was there on the very first day, and today she helps distribute food every week at Skyline College.

Now, more than 20,000 families have received groceries thanks to volunteers like Pam. That is approximately $1.2 million in food donations that have been distributed.