Vol. 4, Iss. 1 | January 6, 2010
Letter from the President
In this first edition of Firestone Voice for 2010, I'm excited to recount some of the highlights of last year. We are very proud of the progress that was made in 2009 as we continue to rebuild from the devastation of the 14-year Liberian civil war.
In the spring, Firestone Liberia constructed a new marketplace, providing a one-stop shop for Firestone employees and nearby residents. The new marketplace garnered media attention and the praise of Liberian Marketing Association Superintendent Esther Karsue, who expressed confidence that the local economy would improve as a result of the new, organized center for local commerce.
Firestone also launched its Hevea Wood operation, a new, ecologically sustainable business unit. Rubber trees that have reached the end of their lifecycle for producing latex — about 28 years — are now being processed into a durable hardwood, considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly woods available, used in the manufacture of furniture, flooring and other goods. This new business investment will provide even more opportunities for the people of Liberia.
Some of our greatest achievements of 2009 came about through our continuing work in education. Public education in Liberia is not free, except for the more than 16,000 sons and daughters of Firestone employees who receive free primary and secondary education through the Firestone Liberia School System. Additionally, 80 Liberian students earned scholarships for the 2009-2010 school year through the Firestone Liberia Scholarship Program. The scholarship program pays the tuition of deserving students throughout Liberia who could otherwise not afford primary, secondary or undergraduate studies at the school of their choice.
The Firestone Liberia School System had a banner year in 2009. Three elementary school students — Genesis Tamba, Division 13 Elementary School; Abraham Morris, Division 43 Elementary School; and Kesselle Koiwood, Division 45 Elementary School — competed as finalists in the U.S. Embassy's national spelling bee. Firestone Liberia was proud to join with the American Embassy Community and Monrovia Brewery Incorporated to contribute scholarship funds that were awarded to the top three spellers in the competition.
After much anticipation in the fall, parents, administrators, teachers and staff were excited to learn that an impressive 88.95 percent of Firestone Liberia School System students achieved a passing grade on the West African Examination Council standardized exams taken in May. This passing rate was well above the Liberian national average of 63 percent.
Finally, in a landmark occasion for the school and the company on Oct. 4, seniors donned caps and gowns to receive diplomas as the first graduating class of Firestone High School. The ceremony recognized 146 students in a gymnasium packed with relatives, company representatives, government officials and other guests.
We are very proud of these accomplishments and look forward to more stories of progress in the coming year. One story we'll be very excited to share early this year — which we preview below — is a partnership between the Firestone Medical Center at Duside and Children's Surgery International (formerly Operation Smile) to perform cleft lip and cleft palate reconstructive surgery and treatment for underprivileged children in Liberia. Please read about this and our other latest news from Liberia below, and thank you for your continued interest in our company and its employees.
Dan Adomitis, President
Firestone Diversified Products Donates Computers
Firestone Liberia recently received 83 desktop and 28 laptop computers to be used in various labs in the Firestone School System.
The computers were donated by Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC and other companies within the Firestone Diversified Products (FSDP) family of companies, including Firestone Building Products Company, LLC and Firestone Industrial Products Company, LLC.
The Women's Business Council of FSDP has also collected items on behalf of Children's Surgery International that will arrive in Liberia this month and will be distributed to the families of the children receiving treatment at the Firestone Medical Center at Duside.
These donation initiatives are a small part of our longstanding commitment to our employees and the people and country of Liberia as we rebuild our operations from the devastation left by the country's long civil war.
Firestone High School Graduates First Senior Class
Firestone Senior High School's colors of green and yellow were proudly on display as seniors donned caps and gowns for the school's first-ever graduation ceremony on Oct. 4.
A landmark occasion for the school and the company, the ceremony recognized 146 students who received diplomas in the school gymnasium packed with relatives, company representatives, government officials and other guests.
Della I. Reeves, one of seven commissioners of the Liberian National Elections Commission, commended the school and the graduates in her commencement address. Controller Patrick Rodrigo encouraged students to continue seeking higher education in his speech on behalf of the company; the school's valedictorian, Philip Kieh, thanked teachers and parents for their support.
Three weeks before the ceremony, we were honored to purchase a two-page ad in all of the major newspapers in Liberia to congratulate the graduates and recognize their parents on this hard-earned achievement.
We are very proud that the Firestone Liberia School System students' impressive 88.95 percent passing grade on the West African Examination Council standardized exams has been recognized as among the best in the country. And, yet, we remain committed to raise the mark further as part of our goal to provide quality K-12 education at no cost to children of our employees.
See a slideshow of pictures from the ceremony on our blog.
Children's Surgery International Trip Set
The Firestone Medical Center at Duside is excited to announce it will be hosting volunteer doctors from Children's Surgery International (formerly Operation Smile) to perform cleft lip and cleft palate reconstructive surgery and treatment for underprivileged children in Liberia.
Firestone Liberia is proud to provide Duside's facilities and assist with the logistics of transporting, housing and feeding patients. CSI doctors will also provide training for Duside surgeons in specialized procedures.
In anticipation of the trip, teammates from the Bridgestone Americas family of companies have provided donations of toys, children's books and clothing for distribution during the mission.
The trip is set for Jan. 30 - Feb. 6, 2010. Check on our blog for updates on this wonderful project.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf On Hand For University Of Liberia Building Dedication
On Friday, Nov. 20, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attended the re-dedication of the Firestone Building on the campus of the University of Liberia. The building, which had been destroyed during the Liberian Civil War, was rebuilt and renovated with the support of Firestone at the request of the president. We are proud to have a role in the university's rebuilding process, as education is a key to Liberia's future.
New Partners In Progress Video
New video is available on the Firestone Natural Rubber Company's Web site, www.firestonenaturalrubber.com, featuring some of the latest images and stories about Firestone Liberia's partnership with the people and country of Liberia. From the home page, select the video titled "Partners in Progress."