Generosity of Employees During 2020 Wildfires

A dedicated team prioritizing safety and nobility above all else

By Taylor Jensen, Proposal Manager

More than a year has passed since the 2020 fire season in Oregon; however, it is one many people will not soon forget. Multiple fires were blazing across the state, from Ashland to the outskirts of Portland; it seemed the whole state was burning. Smoke and haze were the backdrop to a few terrifying weeks, with many families evacuating their homes and some not realizing they won’t have one to return to when it’s all over.

Erickson works hard to fight fires worldwide, using its fleet of S-64 Air Crane® helicopters and Bell 214STs to mitigate the spread of some of the most dangerous wildfires in history. The fires our aircraft and personnel encounter, from Greece to Australia, hurt communities by destroying massive amounts of land, and Erickson provides aid for this never-ending crisis. But the fires that blazed throughout Oregon last year affected the very people supporting our global firefighting operations. Many Erickson employees and Southern Oregon residents had to evacuate their homes with the fear of losing everything.

 With a team of nearly 800 employees, the Erickson culture proved to be stronger than those wildfires as the company rallied to support our communities during this difficult time. There were donations made by several employees to help families severely impacted by the wildfires. Essential items like clothes, toiletries, and food were collected and distributed by Erickson employees to local groups in Southern Oregon to replenish critical items families lost in the fires. Three Erickson sites, Willow Springs, Medford Air, and the Portland Corporate office, organized the enormous amount of donations that so many people in the community desperately needed.

Actual donations from Erickson Employees
Loading up the truck to deliver employee donated items

Daily messages were posted on Erickson’s community Facebook page to announce the needed items and share the drop-off locations. Tables were set up at Erickson’s offices and filled with essential items. The turnout for these contributions were exceptional, with so many employees willing to help families in a time they needed it the most. Trucks were packed full of donations and brought to local organizations – showing the empathy and generosity from Erickson employees.

In addition to the tangible donations made, Erickson provided financial support to our employees who lost their homes or had severe damage to their homes. With losing everything owned so quickly, starting over is an investment, several people cannot afford. Erickson’s financial contributions made that transition easier for some employees – helping our own who support the vital operations we manage all over the world.

Erickson’s Department of People provided additional resources to those at risk during these wildfires. A constant stream of communication took place on the community Facebook page, sharing announcements of evacuation shelters, detailing how to opt-in the alert system for evacuations, and posting road condition maps to assist driving in the high-risk areas.

“Ensuring our people had the tools and resources to stay informed on the vast spread of these fires was our commitment to keep them safe.”

Kristi Gonzalez, VP of People at Erickson Inc.

The 2020 wildfire season wasn’t the only significant occurrence that year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and political tensions, the world looked in utter chaos. But when times were dire, Erickson’s employees were undoubtedly there for one another. The compassion demonstrated by the company and its dedicated workforce during this terrifying time summarizes how Erickson operates within our contracts and communities – safety and nobility above all else.

To learn more about how Erickson employees have come together to support one another after these devastating wildfires, read Coming Together After a Wildfire