Brick by Brick: The Business of Rebuilding Liberia
Bridgestone Americas Teammates Coordinate Soccer Gear Donation To Liberia
While soccer's popularity generally wanes in the U.S. every four years with the conclusion of the World Cup, it's always popular in West Africa. That’s why teammates from three Bridgestone Americas companies collaborated to collect and donate more than 500 pounds of soccer gear to their fellow teammates in Liberia.
"In planning a visit to Liberia, I wanted to take some soccer gear for kids of Firestone's Liberian employees, so I put out a simple request to some friends, family and Bridgestone Americas teammates," said Nashville-based Ken Dillard, Japanese SOX Compliance Manager for Bridgestone Americas, Inc. "That simple request resulted in an unbelievable response from my network, the company and the greater community. What started with my kids' three soccer balls quickly turned into a donation of several hundred pounds."
Ken was very pleasantly surprised and excited when tons of soccer gear and other sporting goods started rolling in from a vast coalition of supporters, including his friends and family, two area soccer clubs, the Tennessee Special Olympics, Hillcrest United Methodist Church, and Bridgestone Americas teammates. At the end of the day, contributions amounted to about 500 pounds of soccer balls, shin guards, cleats, goaltending gloves, jerseys, shirts, socks, shorts and other sports equipment. In all, more than 1,300 items were donated, including nearly 200 stuffed animals for children at the Firestone Medical Center at Duside.
To get the soccer gear from Nashville to Liberia, the Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) Distribution Center in Lebanon, Tenn., handled shipping the donated goods by truck to Baltimore, Md. From there, FSNR's Donation Cargo Program delivered the donations over sea to the port in Liberia. In total, the soccer gear traveled more than 5,000 miles to get to the young soccer enthusiasts at Firestone Liberia.
"The children love to play soccer here, but finding equipment is a big challenge," said Peenak Kosandal, FSLB Finance and Analysis Manager in Liberia. "These donations were met with great excitement and highly appreciated. We want to thank our teammates in Tennessee."
But the fun doesn’t stop there! The team hopes to continue with this effort and to eventually gather enough soccer balls, shoes and jerseys to make a donation to each community division of FSLB's rubber operations, thereby enhancing sports development in the country.
Posted by: Rufus Karmorh
April 29, 2011