Lowe’s is committed to supporting our employees, especially in times of great need. When a catastrophic tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, in May 2013, killing 24 people including a Lowe’s employee, teams across the company immediately sprang to help.
“We had so many challenges,” Moore store manager Raymond Cooper said. “It was difficult for everybody. Not only did one of our employees lose her life, we had at least 10 others who had a total loss in their homes. You don’t know how to handle something like that, and all of the psychological ramifications too.”
80 Lowe’s employees volunteered to leave stores from surrounding areas to serve on storm recovery teams. The support teams gave local employees time to spend with their families and attend to personal needs.
Dozens of employees were assisted through Lowe’s Family Assistance Program, a no-cost program that’s available to all employees. “Having them available in those days and in the months that followed has been a tremendous benefit,” Cooper said.
Lowe’s quickly diverted one of our health-screening units to Moore, and employees from the Moore and South Oklahoma City stores were able to get needed assistance and speak with grief counselors.
While being assisted by staff on the health-screening bus, Lowe’s employees received a variety of supplies and services along with gift cards from Walgreens, a Lowe’s partner.
This was the second straight year Lowe’s sent a health-screening unit to assist employees. In 2012, Lowe’s benefits team diverted a bus with supporting staff to six Lowe’s locations to assist those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Randy Moon, Lowe’s vice president of benefits and international HR, was in Moore to help and witness first-hand the Lowe’s team rallying together.
“We have seen the impact that the health-screening units can make in these situations,” he said. “We know they can help give employees assistance at a critical time through on-site health care and counseling. But when you get to see things close up, you also gain a true appreciation for how our employees handle challenging times. Their resiliency is something that should make us all proud.”
In the week after the tornado struck, employees from the Moore store received a visit from NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra. Both distributed relief supplies and shared their encouragement with the store team and residents in the hard-hit community. Employees also received financial support through the Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund, a program in which Lowe’s matches employee donations dollar-for-dollar to assist employees and their families who have crisis needs. And 80 Lowe’s employees volunteered to leave stores from surrounding areas to serve on storm recovery teams. The support teams gave local employees time to spend with their families and attend to personal needs in the days following the tornado.
The Moore store has rebounded in the months since the disaster and has become one of the most successful stores in its region, in spite of all the challenges it has faced.
“I’ve never been more proud of a group of people,” Cooper said. “They’ve done a fantastic job. We know that things will probably never be ‘normal’ again. But we have all done what we can to make a difference, and so has Lowe’s.”