Relief for our Neighbors is the fourth in a series of five short stories written to honor the compassion and commitment of Pinnacle team members who went to extraordinary lengths to help their communities, residents or each other. The following was recently showcased at the 2018 Pinnacle Annual Leadership Conference in Charleston, SC.
There were two new names woven into Pinnacle’s history last year — Harvey and Irma. When these hurricanes hit Texas and Florida, there was no way to foresee the lasting impact each would have on our team members, residents and communities.
While recovery from a mega-disaster should be best paced as a marathon, basic needs had to be met with a sprint. Time was of the essence for those whose homes, jobs and daily provisions were affected. National relief organizations were on the starting line of this race but the compassion of our own team members were necessary to carry efforts toward the finish line. Labors of love too numerous to mention rose from the ruins to remind us that human kindness is still the best defense against tragedy. Our co-workers stepped up do the hard things, the brave things, and the neighborly things that kept our communities afloat.
The hardest hit area of Houston received 56” of rain within a five-day period, which flooded a good portion of Pinnacle’s Beacon Lakes community. One Leasing Associate, Jovan Martinez, stayed on site and pressed through the high water in her bare feet to document damage for co-workers and supervisors who could not access the property. Another, Yessica Gonzalez, returned to work only days after she and her family lost absolutely everything to make sure the residents, the property, and her team were well cared for. These were only a few examples of the selflessness.
At one point, the damage to Pinnacle’s properties from this one-two punch was assessed at around $4.5 million. That was just the property damage. Sympathy poured in from across the globe, but it was not enough to pay rent for those whose paychecks had been halted by business closings. Lasting partnerships with foundations were formed to provide temporary funding for residents who needed assistance to stay in their homes. Internal donations were collected from across the company and the Pinnacle Cares program awarded special grants to help.
Phones and emails were inundated with requests for available units while our onsite teams accommodated an influx of walk-in customers who had been displaced. Service requests mounted and staff became overwhelmed; yet, they continued to work around the clock despite their own personal setbacks. Pinnacle kicked into action.
Senior leaders played a big part in recovery efforts, offering everything from personal manpower, supplies, food and emotional support. Maintenance team members expedited move-ins by banding together to tirelessly knock out work orders, make readies and repairs at affected properties. Human Resources worked overtime to file an inordinate number of leaves of absence so team members could take the necessary time to put their own lives in order. Team members even hit the streets to hand out refreshments to utility workers who were trying to restore normalcy.
All labors of love were needed and no one turned a blind eye. Pinnacle took constructive action in the relief efforts and genuinely put each other first. Every act had an underlying value and our communities are undoubtedly stronger today because of it. Our company is stronger as well.