The Rewards of Giving Back: MCAA Member Arista Rebuilds a Home in Puerto Rico
It’s not every day you get the chance to give someone a gift that changes their lives. A group of 12 employees from MCAA/MSCA member company, Arista Air Conditioning Corporation, did just that when they traveled to Puerto Rico with Convoy of Hope to build a new house and repair other homes that were damaged in Hurricane Maria.
Before the trip, they knew they would be giving a family back their home, which would certainly make a big impact. And they knew it would feel gratifying to help. But they never expected to be so profoundly affected by the experience, and in so many ways.
“It’s not like we are strangers to helping people. In fact, it’s a big part of what we do everyday in the air conditioning service business, and it’s what makes our work rewarding. But the outcome of this project went far beyond providing comfortable conditions in homes and businesses,” shared Scott Berger, President of Arista.
As a family business, one of their most deeply-rooted values is a commitment to giving back. Every year they are on the lookout for ways we can do so as a company that will make the biggest impact. For Scott, that means more than just donating money. He knew Arista had something valuable to offer: a skilled workforce with experience in many aspects of building construction. In the places where those skills are desperately needed, like Puerto Rico, they are both hard to come by and prohibitively expensive.
Arista partnered with Convoy of Hope, an organization that is often first on the ground after natural disasters and no stranger to the MSCA, which has partnered with them over the past decade during our annual education conference. Arista had already worked with Convoy of Hope earlier in the year, when 150 of our employees spent a morning packing 4000 hygiene kits for people in need. Convoy offered them the opportunity to send a group of 12 people to Puerto Rico for a week to rebuild a home.
When they arrived at the job site on the first day, there were foundation posts with three box beams attached. The team worked very hard in hot and humid conditions for long hours. By the end of 5 days, they had built the entire house, complete with plumbing, electricity, and paint. The house was fairly small and basic, but well constructed and superior to what the surrounding community is living in.
“People who had very little were ready and willing to give whatever they could. Seeing that motivated us to work hard and work together so we could help them as much as possible. The result was a team that was willing and able to move mountains to accomplish their goal. The outcome was truly everything I hoped it would be.”
Everyone was deeply moved by the poverty and conditions people were living in, and were keenly aware of how fortunate they are to live where they do and have everything they have. The entire team is eager to do it all over again!