Supporting American heroes
We are a U.S.-based company, and our colors – in tandem with the theme of Fueling the American Spirit – fit together perfectly with HeroBox’s American-inspired work.
While searching for ideas on community outreach initiatives, Junior Mwemba came across a website and knew it was a winner. Called HeroBox, it was a non-profit organization founded after a young man gathering supplies for a brother in the U.S. military learned other soldiers receive no such support from home.
“I was aware we had employees who’d served our country and that others had family ties to the military,” recalls Mwemba, at the time a Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) employee based in Duluth, Georgia. Mwemba saw ties to the company as well. “We are a U.S.-based company, and our colors – in tandem with the theme of Fueling the American Spirit – fit together perfectly with HeroBox’s American-inspired work,” he says.
Readily gaining the green light from management to support HeroBox, Mwemba reached out to fellow members of MPC’s AC3 (Atlanta Area Corporate Committed Citizens). AC3 was formed to organize and host community-outreach initiatives in which all MPC employees in the metro-Atlanta area could take part. MPC's Terminal, Transport & Rail (TT&R) terminals in the area joined the initiative, too.
Mwemba contacted HeroBox and got the name of a troop to support that was stationed in Kuwait. Emailing the commander, he asked for requests, receiving a list of items comprised of gum, candy and toiletries, as well as something quite specific. “Due to the sand and heat, they all wanted foot powder,” notes Mwemba.
Atlanta-area employees deposited requested items in bins for the troops over a three-week period. “Some donated money instead,” notes Mwemba. “I used the funds to purchase more items for shipment on the employees’ behalf.”
At the end of the collection, nine large boxes of goodies and necessities were shipped to Kuwait that first year. “I knew HeroBox would be near and dear to people’s hearts. In general, people want to support our troops,” says Mwemba, now a Marathon Brand territory manager out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and noting that the AC3 has continued with the project. “They just needed someone to come up with an idea – and to galvanize them into action.”