On the morning of July 1, Lowe's employee José Manuel De La Rosa awoke to find the first floor of his home completely under water.
"From the second floor of my house, I could see water flowing from the front door through the back door," De La Rosa said. "Furniture, doors and belongings all washed away."
When Hurricane Alex hit the city of Monterrey, Mexico's industrial capital, it brought more rain in a few days than the region typically receives in an entire year. The Santa Catarina River overflowed, sending muddy water rushing through the city and forcing approximately 10,000 people to evacuate. Hurricane Alex brought the city to a standstill.
De La Rosa, a hardware specialist at Lowe's Linda Vista store, struggled to cope with the reality of a difficulty recovery. "With many of my belongings washed away and severe damage to the structure of my home," he said. "I didn't know where to begin."
Though the store had been open for only five months, co-workers rallied together to help De La Rosa clean up. "I was surprised to see my co-workers show up at my home one afternoon to help out," De La Rosa said. "I was overwhelmed with the work that needed to be done, and they were a huge help."
"We were excited to help José," said Raul Zavala, store manager at Linda Vista, one of Lowe's first two stores in Mexico. "Walls needed to be gutted, floors needed to be replaced and windows needed repairing. The team at the Linda Vista store immediately thought about Lowe's Employee Relief Fund."
Employees contribute to Lowe's Employee Relief Fund, and Lowe's matches dollar for dollar to assist employees who have suffered a significant financial hardship. Since 1999, the fund has contributed more than $12 million in assistance to more than 11,000 employees and their families.
Two weeks after having lost almost all of his belongings, De La Rosa was again visited by Zavala and Linda Vista employees. Committing to help De La Rosa recover and rebuild, Lowe's team provided him with additional support. This time, it came in an envelope. They presented De La Rosa with a check from Lowe's Employee Relief Fund. De La Rosa said the financial assistance enabled him to begin essential repairs.
"I could not believe it. This was completely unexpected," he said.
He purchased doors, drywall, paint and windows, among other items. "There was much work to be done," he said. "But the Employee Relief Fund assistance took a lot of the financial stress off my shoulders."
With his Lowe's family standing by him through difficult times, De La Rosa expressed his gratitude for the many acts of kindness.
"I feel very thankful for Lowe's, the Linda Vista team and their help," he said. "I don't have words to express how I feel."