By: Heiko, Senior Security Engineer, Germany
I never could have imagined that what started as a national duty to volunteer in Germany would spark an innate passion of giving back to those in need during a time of crisis.
For many years, German men were required to spend 15 months in the military after graduating from school or volunteer for community service for an equal amount of time over eight years. I chose to volunteer for the Technische Hilfswerk (THW). THW is a civic organization that provides professional help to people in distress.
Little did I know that the experience would be so rewarding that 23 years later, and with the help of McAfee’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) benefit, I would be spending much of my free time helping those in need of THW’s services.
Providing a backup plan in the fight against the coronavirus
THW has been instrumental in providing much needed resources during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, including erecting mobile clinical testing stations across the country and providing critical relief services for front line defense against the virus.
When the hot phase of COVID-19 reached Germany this spring, THW began preparing to build temporary hospital facilities in case the virus threatened to overwhelm hospitals. Temporary camps are built from scratch to house relief units of 500 people and more.
With more than two decades of disaster-response exercises and training behind me, I’ve become very acquainted with constructing these facilities. So, I wasn’t surprised when THW asked me to work with a local fire department to build one to increase the community’s hospital capacity for treating infected patients.
We organized containers with showers and toilets, designed the infrastructure to connect them to the existing water supply, arranged for beds and mattresses and planned needed power requirements. Volunteers assisted in transporting materials and supplies to the facility and assembling the various hospital pieces.
Developing a passion for assisting others
Over the years, volunteering for the THW has become a passion. Many of my best friends are part of the effort, which makes it even more rewarding.
Building the temporary camp was hard and required patience. For two weeks, the 12-hour days were taxing but it was worth it to contribute to the battle against COVID-19.
The spirit of our small group and others kept each of us motivated to meet our goal. Everyone did what he or she could do best, and people from other departments and organizations were willing to be as flexible as possible. I was proud to offer my training at THW to help pull together the community.
Regardless, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to help if not for McAfee’s support. My colleagues and manager chipped in to manage my projects, invoking the true spirit of teamwork.
There is no question that McAfee enables its employees to become a greater part of the community and assist whenever and wherever needed. That benefit makes it even more rewarding to give back to the community.
At McAfee, we encourage and support the efforts of our team members to make a difference in their communities. If you’re interested in joining the McAfee team, we’d love to hear from you.
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