At Nestlé Waters North America, volunteering in the communities where we live and work is a big part of our company’s culture. We provide opportunities for associates to get involved in various community service projects and initiatives throughout the year, but our associates are also encouraged to participate in other volunteer efforts that they are passionate about – and many do!
For Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Michigan-based Natural Resource Manager for the Ice Mountain® Spring Water Brand, her dedication and countless volunteer hours for an organization called Mid-Michigan Honor Flight has quickly become one of her passions.
Photo credit all photos: James Swoboda, on behalf of MMHF
The National Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. What the National Honor Flight does is transport our veteran heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials – completely free of charge. Arlene’s father and grandfather, who are now deceased, as well as her father-in-law, all served in the military, making the opportunity to volunteer with the National Honor Flight and support its mission very meaningful to her on a personal level.
It’s so much more than just visiting the memorials – it’s all the little things throughout the day that make these flights so special for the veterans. For example, the groups of people lined up to greet our honorees when they arrive at the airport and children that line up at the memorials to shake the hand of a hero,” Arlene shared. “It’s an emotional day; I can’t quite explain it. It’s amazing to witness these veterans getting the thanks they deserve and may have never received."
The Mid-Michigan Honor Flight is the local chapter or “hub” of the National Honor Flight network, serving 51 of the 83 counties in Michigan. Arlene became involved with Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Chapter upon its inception and quickly asked, “How can Ice Mountain help?”
With this, Ice Mountain® stepped in as the water sponsor for the hub providing water for the flights and related fundraising events —always on hand to supply veterans, guardians, volunteers and fundraising participants with water while they are in Michigan. Through its support, Ice Mountain® has earned the title of “official water sponsor” for the hub.
After getting involved in planning the first flight, Arlene was inspired to volunteer on the first flight as a “guardian,” which includes accompanying the veterans on the flight and acting as a personal guide for one veteran throughout the day’s activities.
Over the years, Arlene has become more and more involved as an integral part of the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight team, volunteering her time outside of work to be a Board member and help with organizing everything from registration and flight logistics to food and accommodations for the flights since 2014. She also coordinates and volunteers at fundraising events, to raise money for the flights that are completely free of charge for our veteran heroes. Naturally, she’s also taken on the responsibility to remind the veterans to stay hydrated throughout the day and drink a lot of water!
Tricia Donegan, Hub Director for the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, praised both Arlene and Ice Mountain® for their incredible support not only of the Honor Flight, but in the community overall, remarking: “Arlene is known in Mecosta as the go-to person for community involvement - whether it is amassing volunteers from the plant or helping to obtain financial or water donations. Ice Mountain® is also very active in the community. In fact, in my 10 years of living in this area, I have never heard anyone tell me that Ice Mountain® had declined to help.”
Pictured (l-r): Tricia Donegan (Mid-Michigan Honor Flight), Arlene Anderson-Vincent, Charles Sargent, Terrance Baker, Frank Gruber
In May 2018, the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight hub recognized Ice Mountain® for its ongoing support.
“Now in our 5th year of flying, the Board of Directors thought it was a good time to show gratitude to our continuous supporters and sponsors,” explained Tricia. “We felt that at our program for the Spring Flight, with a large audience, it was appropriate to let people know of our sincere appreciation for the relationship we have continued with Ice Mountain®. They will always be special to us. To me personally, it was that first step needed to 'validate' that our mission was worthy in the eyes of a large corporation. It kick-started us, and got our momentum started.”
We applaud the ongoing efforts made by the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight hub to honor our veteran heroes and thank Arlene for being a strong ambassador for this important mission.
At Nestlé Waters, our company’s culture recognizes the critical and uncommon qualities that military veterans possess. Through Project Opportunity, Nestlé in the U.S. has developed partnerships with organizations such as Hiring Our Heroes (HOH), a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation program established in 2011 with the goal of creating employment opportunities and support across communities in the U.S. where veterans and military families return every day. We are proud to employ veterans and military family members—and employees, like Arlene, whose volunteer efforts are an integral part of our company’s identity.