NetScout Systems, Inc., a leading provider of integrated network and application performance management solutions for organizations worldwide held their annual corporate awards recognition program in St. Thomas this weekend. Michael Szabados, Chief Operating Officer, hosted over 200 NetScout employees and their families at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Hotel recognizing outstanding contributions and accomplishments over the past year. But unlike many other corporations, NetScout set out to make a difference in the community they were visiting.
Working with Judi Nagelberg of Island Meetings and Incentives, a St. Thomas destination management company, Szabados and his NetScout team were determined to contribute to the community they were visiting. Friday evening at NetScout’s Annual Awards Banquet at the St. Peter Greathouse, Szabados presented Habitat for Humanity of the Virgin Islands President Tom Bolt and Board member Alan Fleming, Chair of Habitat’s Construction Committee, with a check for $10,000 to promote Habitat’s mission of eliminating poverty housing in the U.S. territory.
In accepted the generous contribution, Bolt told the guests that “Habitat for Humanity is honored to be associated with NetScout, where corporate responsibility is held in such high regard.”
Tony Swanson, a Named Account Manager from Manhattan Beach, California who was honored Friday evening with a corporate award, was so moved by the good work of Habitat for Humanity in the Virgin Islands, that he and his wife, decided to match the NetScout contribution with an additional gift of $10,000 on Saturday morning.
“Mr. and Mrs. Swanson have honored Habitat for Humanity and the local Habitat family with their gift.” Bolt said.
But the NetScout team was determined to do more for the St. Thomas community. On Saturday morning, over 40 NetScout volunteers traveled to Estate Contant where they built a 100 foot ramp at the home of Merryll and Maria Parker. The Parkers have lived at the Estate Contant site since 1983 and are the proud parents of two daughters, Gigi and Lisa. It is the Parker family’s dream to one day complete their home, but substantial medical bills for the two daughters have prevented them from achieving their goal.
Gigi has suffered from seizures from birth which has left her with a learning disability and required many hospitalizations. Lisa has had problems with her legs and has undergone several surgeries to straighten them, but still remains unable to walk unassisted and has been unable to attend school for the last several months. Fortunately, though the services of her Lockhart School guidance counselor, Lisa is now able to be home schooled.
Due to the daughters’ medical conditions, they have not been able to leave their home unassisted. Now with the good work of the NetScout volunteers, the Parker daughters will be able to travel outside their home.
First Lady Cecile deJongh, a member of the Habitat for Humanity Board, traveled to the Parker home Saturday morning to thank the NetScout volunteers for their contribution to the Parker family and the Virgin Islands community. “NetScout serves as a prime example of good corporate citizenship,” she told the volunteers. “We welcome you and thank you for your outstanding community outreach.”
In addition to building the new ramp, NetScout volunteers also cleaned the area, built a rock garden on the property, beautified the neighborhood and removed years of refuse from the site.
“On behalf of my wife and daughters, I thank Mr. Szabados and the many NetScout volunteers,” Merryll Parker said Saturday afternoon as his daughters came down the ramp for the first time to the applause of the volunteers and the Estate Contant neighbors. “We could never have accomplished what we did today without our local Habitat for Humanity organization and NetScout. We thank you.”
In addition to extending his appreciation to NetScout, the Habitat for Humanity President also thanked Island Meetings and Incentives for coordinating the event. “Judi Nagelberg and IMI are to be commended for leading the way on corporate voluntourism.” Bolt said. In the past IMI has organized other volunteer workdays with clients at the Bethlehem House, the Family Resource Center and the Nana Baby Home.