How do I communicate the good things happening in an organization for which I have leadership responsibility without sounding like I am patting myself on the back? It is really not that hard because most of the charitable activity goes on without any input or impetus from me.

The forest products industry takes a bad rap in a lot of areas and it’s becoming harder and harder to attract young people to careers in our industry. Maybe that’s because our business leaders don’t talk about the great things going on inside their organizations. Our industry has heart, integrity, and energy and it shows up in many ways.

I am excited and proud to point out that our Willamina Lumber employee group recently received Governor Kitzhaber’s 2014 Volunteer Award for Large Business. This award reflects the hard work and dedication they put into identifying community projects and putting their resources to work to help. These people give back to their community at a pace that makes me want to look at what more I can do to improve my community. Our Willamina folks raise money, donate time and materials, build swing sets, improve town signage, collect food, buy holiday gifts, make food baskets, and ride donkeys in a basketball game… all for the good of their community. They have a competitive proud spirit that is reflected in all the good deeds they do.

And it isn’t just our Willamina group, giving back to local communities is prevalent in the other Hampton businesses. The beneficiaries range from Habitat for Humanity, local Food Bank chapters, Adopt-A-Family, and youth sports and fellow workers. Our folks look out for their own as much as they do their communities. When a coworker hits hard times, his or her employee group goes into to action to help the employee and his or her family.

I am particularly proud of the unwavering courage and compassion our Darrington employees showed recently when faced with the tragic mud slide in Oso, Washington. Despite official warnings and orders not to go to the mud slide site, our employees and their families participated in the rescue efforts in heroic fashion. Some of our company mobile equipment was used on the site to clear ground and mud so the search and rescue tasks could go forward as fast as possible. Employees and the company also donated emergency funding to assist the community in feeding and housing victims left homeless by this traumatic event. The mud slide left its devastating mark on the community, but the strength and resiliency of our employees and the residents of Oso/Darrington persevered.

Our employees from our newest U.S. sawmill in Warrenton, Oregon, have found their own niche and are collecting funds for the local food bank via payroll deductions. Their first quarterly contribution was $2,100 which will purchase 13,000 pounds of food.

Historically, Hampton participates in funding badly needed community resources and helped fund the new Tillamook County Library, a Forestry Education Program for Tillamook School District, a West Valley Library (Sheridan/Willamina), replacement of the Tillamook High School sports field, a multi-purpose room for the Willamina School District, operating income for the Morton Teen Center, land donations for the West Valley Recreation Center, Willamina Fire Department and Huddleston Fish Pond, and the list goes on…

In the Portland metro area, Hampton has a lower profile that comes with being a “small fish in a large pond.” Nonetheless, Hampton has stepped up significantly with resources for the Oregon Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity, both in terms of financial donations and employee volunteers.

Hampton overall seeks to be a good corporate neighbor in the communities where it does business. Our culture of giving back to our communities comes from a legacy of charitable actions established by the late John and Carol Hampton. They believed that each of us has a responsibility to give and that the consequence of giving reaps its own rewards. John believed there was an “art and science” to giving away one’s resources and he spent much of his time strategizing about how his own generosity would motivate other people and the beneficiaries would ultimately win twofold.

I applaud our employees and their daily acts of unselfish kindness and charity.

Steve Zika
CEO, Hampton Lumber