In December 2020, an idea to recognize the families of Houston Public Works employees who lost their lives during the year was taken from an executive team discussion to a full-blown Adopt-A-Family program within a week.
HPW Director Carol Haddock said the executive team wanted to show their support as one team.
The department put out the call in early December and donations were collected through Mid-December. Eight families of HPW employees who died from the COVID-19 virus and other tragedies were given $375 in holiday meal kits, cash or gift cards and HPW swag.
The employees honored were:
- Michael Boutte
- Rodnika Wiggins
- Isaisas Tristan
- Johnny Clemons
- Phillip Cook
- Michael Taylor
- Juan Tejada
- Joseph Journet
“Our team recognized the impact of the unusual number of losses and wanted to take an extra step to show support around the holidays,” Haddock said.
“When Houston Public Works reached out to the families to ask if it was ok for us to show our love during the holidays, the families did not know what to expect. They were clearly surprised and filled with joy as teams showed up to the home with a gift from the department in remembrance of their loved ones,” said Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director Eric Dargan.
“Tears were shed and the emotions were overwhelming as we could not refuse a hug of thanks. It was truly an inspirational experience for each of us who participated,” he said.
Stefanie Leija, senior communications specialist, put together a moving video to commemorate the Adopt-A-Family program.
Link to video: https://animoto.com/play/3dn93QhcBo50JswDzIf5Yg