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Blisters for a Cause – Keenan Impact Day

Kathy Espinoza 10/2/2014
Kathy Espinoza

Today, my fingers are full of raw blisters and I couldn’t be more proud.  They are there to remind me that each and every one of us can positively impact our world, little by little, blister by blister…and each one is a very small price to pay considering what others are going through.

blog_impact_dayInstead of doing my normal job in the office, on September 30, 2014, I attended a Keenan “Impact Day.”   My company paid for every single employee to partake in a unique group activity where we could impact the world and local communities from our small little corner in California.

Employees were assigned to various group projects to work on, as teams for a cause.  There were groups assembling backpacks full of school supplies for Boys and Girls Clubs, others making blankets for newborns, infants, toddlers and adults, lunches being packaged for local relief mission, letters being written to support our military groups, and packing up clothing donations provided by Keenan employees for the homeless.

paracordMy group was given the task of creating Paracord survivor bracelets for our military.  (I had never heard of a Paracord so I’m including a photo for you)  A paracord bracelet or a parachute cord was used by the military during World War II.  The elasticity of the cord and its ability to withstand immense weight made it a very useful tool.   Nowadays, the paracord is a bracelet used by the military for survival.

We assembled these double strands of heavy-duty nylon twine covered with a thick woven sheath as fast as humanly possible.  After two hours, my group completed 300 bracelets, without complaint.  My hands were throbbing but that didn’t matter because my heart was bursting with pride in my company for taking the initiative to impact the lives of others.  Spirit was running high as teams whooped and high-fived when they finished their assigned projects.

When I got home, I searched the Internet and found that those bracelets can be purchased for $6.50 each.  Would I have felt this good if I’d purchased 20 of them and mailed them over to our military heroes?  No, my 20 bracelets were made with my sweat, skin and pride and I wouldn’t trade my blisters for anything.

Because of how often I’ve used my hands today, I’m forced to think about those less fortunate than myself:  single parents trying to care for their family, homeless children going to school without supplies, and what our military members gave up so that we can sleep safely at night.  Today, each time I hold a pencil, grasp my mouse and especially when I wash my hands with anti-bacterial, alcohol-based cleaner, I think of them.  In truth, I should be thinking of them every day, not just when my blisters remind me.

Keenan’s Impact Day was a gift, a solid reminder that we are each challenged to help those less fortunate and as a society, we need to look out for each other.

Thank you, Keenan, for the opportunity to impact the world and for being an awesome place to work.