Building a world-class vehicle demands attention to detail, commitment and plenty of hard work. That same energy and passion is being applied by employees of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama to our partnership with the not-for-profit organization "Habitat for Humanity". They are helping to build houses for homeless families in Alabama. Employees of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) already built a complete house from scratch in 2016 – a unique achievement at the time. Now MBUSI is taking on the challenge of financing and constructing a second house in Tuscaloosa over a period of six weeks. From April 2017 a labor force comprising some 400 volunteers will spend six weeks working on the house. Some of them will bring relevant experience to the project while for others it will be completely uncharted territory – but for everyone involved the project represents a chance to give something back to the community.
After the first two weeks of joint construction work on the house, its future owner, Kourtney Davis, had a short message for the MBUSI employees:
I would like to thank the Mercedes team for freeing up the staff and time to build our new home. Thanks to their fantastic efforts you can already see the room layout after just three working days on site. This fast and efficient team has achieved a lot in a very short time. I aim to come by every day to get to know as many of them as possible. I would also like to thank each and every one of them for giving me such a warm welcome on the first day of construction. Thank you all very much for going the extra mile to make me feel so welcome.
The reason for the house-building project is a powerful tornado that swept through the city of Tuscaloosa in April 2011. It left a miles-wide swathe of destruction in its wake, razing hundreds of houses to the ground. The new home Kourtney and his family are looking forward to moving into is in the same area that saw such devastation.
Habitat for Humanity takes great care when selecting the new/former homeowners. They have to join in the construction work themselves and also help with other projects. The organizers describe their "give and take" philosophy as "sweat equity" for people who are forced into a position of need through no fault of their own. And at the center of it? Our employees from the Tuscaloosa plant!