In collaboration with Building Lives and Hands On Nashville, the ENA team extends a helping hand to veterans.
On a beautiful morning in early May, more than a dozen members of the ENA team gathered at a home near Percy Priest Lake. Their goal? To give back to members of the armed services who have given so much.
Administered by Building Lives—a Tennessee-based non-profit committed to helping veterans build healthy and meaningful lives—the house offers veterans a quiet and safe space to adjust after deployment. Under Building Lives’ leadership, ENA worked to make veterans feel at home. Some team members built benches for the house’s lovely screen porch. Others assembled welcome-home baskets with dozens of essentials, including towels, soap, and can openers. Some painted a mural. And the biggest crew of all helped turn the garage into a screen printing studio.
“We train the guys how to do screen printing while focusing on the principles of teamwork, following directions, and being detail-oriented,” said Ashley Mitchell, executive director of Building Lives. From their experience working in this new screen printing shop, she explained, veterans will gain the skills necessary for employment. Additionally, the revenue generated from the shop will be put back into the program to help other newly returned veterans get on their feet.
The ENA team was grateful for the opportunity to do its part. “We have a number of veterans at ENA,” said Aimee Hull, director of People Services. “Knowing that we can do something that enhances the lives of those who’ve sacrificed so much is meaningful to us, and plus it’s a lot of fun.”
One member of the ENA team, Christina Irick, senior network engineer, was particularly glad to be involved. “Helping veterans is really near and dear to my heart because I am a veteran,” she said. “I’m always looking for ways to give back to veterans, and this is a great program for people who really want to give back.”
Part of what made this morning of service so successful was Building Lives’ long-standing partnership with Hands On Nashville (HON). HON helps non-profits organize service opportunities and collaborate with companies looking to give back. “We lead the volunteers to make sure the work is high-quality and that all partners have a fantastic time,” explained Lydia Abell, HON’s corporate project manager.
By the end of the morning, the evidence of a successful collaboration and a fantastic time was everywhere on display. Not only was the garage transformed and the house ready to welcome more veterans, but ENA team members were laughing and having fun. Fortunately, Ms. Mitchell is planning many more service opportunities throughout the year and encourages everyone to get involved in any way they can. “The littlest thing can make a difference,” she explained. “It’s just so important that veterans know they’ve got someone in their corner.”