By Brian Russell
Army Sgt. Phillip Brown was seriously injured in his third tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2012. After an honorable discharge recently, Brown and his wife chose to settle in Washington, Mo., near St. Louis.
The house the couple purchased in Washington, however, needed significant interior work.
Thanks to a team of Monsanto employees working with the returning-veterans group H.E.R.O.E.S Care, that work was completed in a single weekend.
“H.E.R.O.E.S. Care was able to provide paint and other materials, but they needed manpower to actually do the work,” said Tom Butler, selective chemistry product manager, Vanguard talent acquisition lead and one of the organizers of the work July 19-21. “So they reached out to me and the Vanguard Network here at Monsanto, and we put out word to our group that a returning veteran needed our assistance. I laid out what needed to be done, and we got a team of nine employees and two wives to go out and spend a weekend prepping the house to make it ready for the family to move in.”
The Monsanto team did everything from prep work, including spackling, sanding, masking, laying out drop cloths, and cutting in, to painting the kitchen, three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a living room and a hallway. The weekend ended with the crew doing cleanup work, including cleaning carpets. Later, the nearby American Legion Post 402 did yard work, while H.E.R.O.E.S. Care arranged for a moving company to help move the family.
“The guys that turned out did a fantastic job,” Butler said. “It’s not one of those slap-some-paint-on-the-walls kind of things. These guys did a really good, quality job. They weren’t satisfied with just doing this halfway. The walls were done well and everything was cleaned up. It looked very good when we were finished.”
The family was overjoyed at the help fixing their house.
“The family was speechless when they walked in to see the fabulous paint jobs everyone worked so hard on,” said Sherry Courtney, APEX project coordinator and Brown’s mother-in-law, via e-mail. “Words cannot express their gratitude to everyone involved.”
Butler and Shirley Fox also were able to secure the Brown family tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in September.
The volunteer hours were logged in Monsantogether, earning the team an additional grant to be donated to H.E.R.O.E.S. Care.
“This is another example of why I am proud of the people that work for this company; great work by all involved,” said President and Chief Commercial Officer Brett Begemann in an email to the volunteers.