A good deed can happen spontaneously. But doing good year after year requires effort and spirit. Carpet One Floor & Home’s relationship with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is a case in point.
As we have discussed on our blog, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors the memory of Stephen Siller, a New York firefighter who died when the World Trade Center collapsed during the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. On the morning of September 11, Siller had finished his shift in Manhattan and was headed to a golf outing with his brothers when the first plane struck the World Trade Center. Instinctively, he strapped on his gear and ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel back to the Twin Towers to help in the rescue effort. He was one of the 343 members of the New York City Fire Department who died that day.
The foundation works with a number of organizations to support first responders and catastrophically injured veterans, which is where Carpet One Floor & Home plays a role. Carpet One Floor & Home is a cooperative of 1,000 independently operated stores that sell flooring products ranging from carpet to hardwood. Carpet One Floor & Home’s relationship with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation happens year-round. For example, Carpet One Floor & Home stores contribute flooring installation to Building for America’s Bravest, a foundation program that builds homes for catastrophically injured members of the military. Carpet One Floor & Home also contributes money, materials, and participants to the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk in New York, an annual event that occurred September 25.
The 2016 5K Run and Walk
I was proud to participate in this year’s run for the third year in a row, along with 100 members of the Carpet One Floor & Home team. As I had in previous years, I awoke at 6:30 a.m. to prepare for the journey to the starting line before the run began at 9:00 a.m. on a clear blue Sunday morning.
And in many ways, this year’s run was the same emotional and rewarding experience it always has been. As I completed the run with thousands of others, I felt a sense of excitement, humility, and inspiration, especially as I emerged from the same Brooklyn Battery Tunnel that Stephen Siller ran through on September 11. Whereas Siller ran to a disaster scene, I ran in the shadow of the Freedom Tower.
At one point, I came upon hundreds of firefighters holding banners with photos of fallen firefighters. I high fived every single one, which is a half mile of people. It took time, but it was worth it.
How Carpet One Does Good
What was different about this year’s event — the 15th annual — was that the crowds were larger and the media coverage seemed more extensive. In fact, the 2016 run drew record numbers. The increased exposure and participation results in more funding to support the foundation’s works. And Carpet One plays a role year after year. Here’s how the company does it:
- Participating on Tunnel to Towers is part of a culture of giving. Most people think of Carpet One Floor & Home as a destination for their home. But Carpet One Floor & Home also serves a higher purpose. For example, Carpet One Floor & Home gives back to local communities in many ways, such as supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by contributing proceeds from the sale of Pink Ribbon welcome mats. Carpet One Floor & Home stories support local causes such as soup kitchens.
- Carpet One Floor & Home does not take for granted that its stores will contribute to the foundation. The company communicates the importance of the cause throughout the year, including at Carpet One Floor & Home events attended by its coop of stores. The run gives employees and franchisees something to rally around. Firmwide communications builds awareness.
- Carpet One Floor & Home gets involved at the grassroots level. Its stores raise money by reaching out to their communities and taking contributions. And as noted, Carpet One Floor & Home people participate in the 5K run, which makes the company’s efforts more personal.
I am proud that One Smooth Stone is a partner to Carpet One Floor & Home. We lend our communications and event management expertise to help Carpet One Floor & Home promote the foundation to its stores communications. And we participate in the New York event. Collaborating to help is part of our DNA. If you’d like to get involved, please visit the Tunnel to Towers website. You’ll be glad you did.
Lead image source: Tunnel2Towers.org
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