The young family standing in front of Darlene Ford, branch manager of the AAA Tewksbury location, had nothing.
No diapers for their baby. No wallet or pocketbook. No house.
They fled their home during the Sept. 13 gas explosions, and were now facing Darlene at an Elks Lodge serving as a resource center for those affected by the crisis in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
“The mom looked beside herself, but calm,” said Ford, a Lawrence native. “I think she just wanted someone to tell her everything would be OK.”
Darlene did what she could: She gave them a warm smile, made sure they were taken care of, and filled the young son’s pockets with snacks. The family was able to secure housing and a debit card for groceries, vouchers for clothing and a duplicate license to replace the one lost in the explosion.
Other AAA Northeast employees volunteered that day, too – on company time.
About a dozen other AAA employees who live in the affected area couldn’t get to their homes. AAA human resources and travel employees helped secure hotel rooms and funds for food, toiletries and clothing for a day or two. The employee-run Charitable Giving Committees donated to the Merrimack Valley chapter of the American Red Cross, and the club provided matching gifts for individual donations by employees.
For Josh Varone, director of compensation-benefits for AAA Northeast, the effort is a reminder that AAA Northeast helps and serves members – as well as employees – every single day.
AAA Northeast encourages its employees to volunteer and help local causes. Check out the career possibilities at AAA.