Weyerhaeuser Employee Earns Company Recognition for Dedication to Haiti Homebuilding

Nov 4, 2013 8:30 AM ET
Weyerhaeuser’s Haiti Homebuilding Team in 2012. Glyn Boone is seated, second from the right.

After learning that Glyn Boone had won a Weyerhaeuser President’s Award, Lana Bru, financial manager for Weyerhaeuser’s oriented strand board business line, sent an email to the “Haiti Homebuilding Alumni.” She passed on the news and offered warmest congratulations to Boone, a senior engineer for Weyerhaeuser’s engineered lumber products.

 The Alumni group, which includes 22 Weyerhaeuser volunteers and 5 family members, spent two weeks last year constructing buildings near Port-Au-Prince following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

 The five wood-frame structures, designed by Boone and Weyerhaeuser’s engineered lumber products (ELP) engineering team to withstand high winds and earthquakes, were completed this past February with the help of 30 more volunteers.

 “These buildings would not exist,” says Gary Schweizer, director of engineering and award nominator, “without the perseverance, patience and exceptional leadership of Glyn Boone.”

It all started when Weyerhaeuser pledged $250,000 to help Haiti rebuild following the quake. Initially, the company sent $120,000 to Habitat for Humanity to meet immediate needs. With ELP as stewards of the donation, Schweizer and Boone believed the remaining money could be better used to construct permanent and long-lasting buildings.

 “We could’ve handed out a check for emergency housing,” says Schweizer, “but we had limited ability to influence construction or ensure the safety of the Haitian people. We wanted to take a different direction, to be more engaged. We wanted a more noble cause.”

 What they didn’t know was how complicated carrying out that idea would be. Issues ranging from property ownership to lack of infrastructure and basic materials faced the project team, which was led by Boone, who volunteered for the effort.

But that turned out to be a boon, so to speak. Despite numerous obstacles, Boone remained focused on the goal. He identified Nehemiah Vision Ministries, a local and reputable agency, as a building partner. He researched and designed the buildings, worked with architects, coordinated products and materials, and managed shipments to Haiti.

He also spent five weeks on the island making sure construction ran smoothly, and hosted two volunteer groups who worked with Haitians to build the five structures.

 “Glyn persuaded everyone to work toward a common purpose,” says Carlos Guilherme, vice president of Weyerhaeuser’s engineered lumber products  business line. “He is driven by his values. His strength of character and resolve made this happen.”

 To Boone, the greatest satisfaction was the hands-on participation and interaction.

 “It’s a sacrifice to be there,” he says. “But seeing how everyone was affected by the experience was incredible. We came to serve and in turn were served by the people of Haiti. It was humbling.”

 “What makes me so excited about Glyn’s award,” Schweizer says, “is the jubilation from the Haiti volunteer team. These folks have a common bond that will last forever. In fact, Glyn and the project created a special bond among all the associates involved in the effort.”

Learn more about Weyerhaeuser’s employee involvement efforts.