From June 17-24, more than 600 employees of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC went to work outside the workplace: They built homes, planted trees, and cleaned public spaces. They picked up hammers, paintbrushes, shovels, and trash bags. From the U.S. Midwest to the West Coast, to communities in Canada and Mexico, they tackled diverse projects with a single goal: to make things a little better.
Their efforts took place in conjunction with the annual Knorr-Bremse/Bendix Values Day. Employees at Bendix’s North American campuses – along with all other Knorr-Bremse employees around the globe – showcased the value of responsibility.
Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety and braking solutions for commercial vehicles, is a member of the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group – the world’s preeminent manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles.
“We are truly humbled by the passion and enthusiasm our employees put into our Values Day every year,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “Bendix has a lasting commitment to strengthening our home communities worldwide, but it is only made possible through the selfless efforts of our employees.”
Supporting the Needs of Local Families
On June 24, nearly 500 employees gathered at Bendix’s Elyria headquarters for the opportunity to help change the lives of four Ohio families. Bendix partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Lorain County, Habitat for Humanity of Medina County, and Help Build Hope to frame four homes for families in need.
Bendix volunteers built the frames of the four homes and wrote personal messages in permanent marker across the wood. The houses, ranging from 1,150 to 1,250 square feet, were then disassembled, loaded onto a Bendix tractor-trailer, and donated as Habitat for Humanity homes – three for Medina County and one for Lorain County. Bendix delivered two of the Medina County Habitat homes to their construction sites. The third Medina County Habitat home and the Lorain County Habitat home went to storage for construction in 2017.
In addition to the Ohio house builds, Bendix made financial contributions of $1,500 per home, to fund new roofs for each.
The house builds are part of Local Care within the Bendix Corporate Responsibility program. Local Care fuels the company’s ongoing dedication to supporting communities and aims to grow active social involvement among employees through leadership and project management experience.
Habitat for Humanity builds decent and affordable houses for people in need with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Homes are sold with no profit made, and the homeowners’ no-interest mortgage payments are recycled into the “Fund for Humanity” to build additional homes.
Habitat for Humanity of Medina County and Habitat for Humanity of Lorain County are both 100 percent volunteer organizations that have built a combined 75 homes since their incorporations in 1991 and 1988, respectively.
Help Build Hope nurtures sustainable relationships with individuals and communities across America through the framing of new homes. The organization works with partners like Habitat for Humanity to enhance community impact and to create hands-on opportunities for all ages through home building. With help from volunteers, Help Build Hope has orchestrated as many as 33 home builds in one day.
Continuing Tornado Relief Support
Fifteen hundred miles away, more than 80 volunteers from the Bendix Acuña manufacturing campus also helped build a new home, kicking off construction to aid the community in recovering from the damage of a tornado that struck Ciudad Acuña on May 25, 2015. In collaboration with Casas por Cristo, Bendix volunteers spent four days constructing a safe and secure 450-square-foot home – the first of four that Bendix will help build over the coming months – complete with a cement foundation, electricity, windows, and doors.
The Acuña house build is part of a project involving complete construction of houses for local families who lost their homes during a devastating tornado on May 25, 2015. An F4 tornado with winds estimated at above 200 mph tore through the area, destroying or severely damaging approximately 1,000 homes.
The four-day event represents blended support from Knorr-Bremse Global Care and volunteer work contributed by Bendix employees and their families in collaboration with Casas por Cristo, a nonprofit that assembles volunteer teams and builds homes for families in need.
In addition to the house builds, Knorr-Bremse Global Care contributed EUR 150,000 for the construction of 20 homes to benefit families affected by the tornado. On the second day of the building effort, executives from Bendix and its Acuña campus participated, along with a representative from Knorr-Bremse Global Care.
Knorr-Bremse Global Care is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by the Knorr-Bremse Group to give people in need (through no fault of their own) a chance to lead more independent lives. It was formed to provide rapid, targeted support in the wake of the Southeast Asia tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. Since its inception, Global Care has implemented more than 190 projects in 52 countries with a total funding of EUR 14.3 million.
Global Care also aims to help increase the awareness of employees within the Knorr-Bremse Group to the need for greater social involvement, to encourage individuals to become active themselves, and – via Global Care projects – to offer unparalleled leadership and project management experience to its employees.
Through Casas por Cristo, teams transform an otherwise empty lot into a safe and secure home in just one week. To date, it has provided over 4,500 families with homes. Casas por Cristo creates important partnerships among various groups across international borders.
Year-round, Bendix employees throughout North America donate their time, talent, and financial support to a wide range of community service programs, partnering with charitable and philanthropic organizations. Dozens participated in other Knorr-Bremse/Bendix Values Day projects.
Volunteers at Bendix’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, research and development facility labored a full day on June 17 to impact the local community – placing the finishing touches on a home recently provided to a family by the Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers worked to sod, plant, and seed a yard and landscape for the new home.
In addition, Bendix donated $1,500 to Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity to fund supplies and equipment for the day’s efforts.
Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity began in 1983 and has provided families with 197 homes to date.
Across the country, the Bendix team from one of the company’s research and development facilities in Santa Ana, California, spent a day removing litter from the coast of Huntington Beach, while colleagues in Vancouver, British Columbia, organized a canned good drive for the needy.
Additionally, Bendix volunteers in Mexico City spent June 17 at a Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage. Three groups of employees painted interior areas of the home, cooked for the children, planted and harvested vegetables in the greenhouse, and spent time with the children living there. NPH International cares for more than 3,400 children in its homes, situated in nine countries.
“Each of these efforts is uniquely impactful for the communities involved,” Gutierrez said. “Words can’t describe how thankful we are for the opportunity to help so many – not only locally, but also in areas like Acuña that have experienced unavoidable hardship. We’re incredibly proud of the work our volunteers have put in.”