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Living the Code: The ECi Everyday Hero Award

Living the Code: The ECi Everyday Hero Award

By Traci Johnson

As ECi employees, we are asked to not only embrace the company’s core values but to actually live by a “CODE” that promotes respect, innovation, teamwork, and support for others.

As a seasoned ECi employee, chief historian, and marketing leader, I’ve had the opportunity to work on and create some really cool and exciting things based on that CODE. My absolute favorite program of all time being ECi’s Everyday Hero program.

Originally, the idea was created based on customer requests. As a marketing leader for ECi, I received numerous requests from our customers who were supporting and raising money for very deserving organizations in their local communities. Each year, I would hear that our customers were doing some amazing things and changing the lives of people—and animals—in need.

So, in collaboration with our CEO Ron Books, we created the ECi Everyday Hero Award. Over the past five years, we have received hundreds of stories about ECi customers raising money for orphans in Haiti, building summer camps for special needs kids, driving sweet doggies hundreds of miles to their new furever homes, and flying sick kids in their personal planes to doctor’s appointments.

I’ll never forget the time we spent with 2016 Everyday Hero finalists Adam and Marcy in Indiana learning about how the non-profit that they founded made “weighted” blankets for kids with autism. These blankets help to calm, comfort, and help children with anxiety, sleep issues, and special needs. Born out of necessity for their own son, they are now literally changing lives for hundreds of families all over the world.

2018 Everyday Hero Finalist Angie Higgins with dogs ready for their Furever homes.

Or meeting Bert Light, 2017’s Everyday Hero Winner from Artlite Office Supply, who told us about a sick child that he was flying to his doctor appointments and who carried a tackle box to every appointment. With tears in his eyes, Bert told us how the box wasn’t for fishing but instead held all of the daily medication he needed to help keep him alive while he fought a terminal illness.

I follow many of the non-profits on my social media pages and have had the pleasure of seeing these organizations flourish and grow. One particular organization that really touched me was Kingdom Design Ministries (KDM) in Knoxville, Tennessee. A 2017 Finalist, Missy Johnson started this non-profit a few years ago out of her passion to help others by using her God-given creative and design talents. She and an all-volunteer team at KDM create dream bedroom makeovers for kids with special needs. These makeovers are not just another pretty face lift. Most of them provide wheelchair-accessible showers or lift systems to make it easier for the caregivers.

During that trip to learn about Missy and KDM, I met Lexy, a special-needs young lady who would absolutely light up a room with her smile. Lexy and her parents told us the story of how she had not been able to have a proper shower in two years because her parents could no longer lift her. KDM came in and transformed the space, complete with a lift, and now Lexy takes her own showers and brushes her own teeth because she can reach the sink. These are the little things that we all take for granted.

With the help of 2017 Everyday Hero Finalist Kingdom Design Ministries, Lexy,s room is beautiful and functional.

I am so blessed to have met our wonderful customers that are literally transforming the world. And, we as company have grown so much because of this program. The people we’ve met and the experiences we’ve shared have inspired us so much so that this fifth year, we’ve increased our top prize to $10,000 with $5,000 and $3,000 going to two finalists.

Nominations for this year’s everyday hero are being accepted through the end of June. Read our winners' stories and learn more how you can nominate someone by visiting the Everyday Hero Award page. All nominations must be current ECi customers or employees of an ECi customer.

Traci Johnson

About the author

As SVP of Global Communications & Brand, Traci is ECi’s head cheerleader. She is responsible for overseeing the ECi global brand messaging as well as managing day-to-day marketing activities for each of the ECi companies. Her passion is helping others to succeed.

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