Suppliers Of Atlas Products Work To Make Their Communities BetterG.K. Sharman, Writer
Giving back to the community is part of the philosophy all up and down the Atlas supply chain. Contractors install roofs for disabled veterans, Atlas donates roofing shingles for a project that’s part of a major cancer-fighting initiative, distributors also do their part to support the causes and communities they believe in.
A Dedication To Service
Tom Connelly, president of Crown C Supply in St. Louis, MO, is a Vietnam vet who believes in helping other vets whenever he can.
“You have to give back when you can,” Connelly said of his efforts. “If you can, help others.”
His experiences there and back home spurred his willingness to help.
“When I came back from the Army,” he said, “Vietnam vets were seen as scum, as sex-crazed, drug-crazed killers,” he said. “I am committed to helping Vietnam vets and other vets overcome that stereotype.
"So anytime I can help a vet or a veterans' organization, I do it."
Connelly has been active with Vietnam veterans’ activities for decades. As long ago as the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was part of the effort to raise money for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – commonly known as “The Wall” – in Washington D.C.
“I was active with the Missouri activity,” he said. “The Wall fundraising was done by committees in each state. Members of each committee did active fundraising.”
Though he made what he called “numerous personal contributions,” he declined to say how much he donated or helped raise. The Wall was dedicated in November 1982. The entire cost of the memorial – more than $7 million – came from contributions from corporations, veterans’ groups, civic groups, unions and foundations, as well as more than 275,000 individuals.
Around the same time, as an alderman in St. Louis, he also led the effort to erect a memorial to city residents who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
In addition to his work on the memorials, Connelly is also active with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, 187th Assault Helicopter Company Association and 190th Assault Helicopter Association.
In Vietnam, Connelly flew helicopters. He was shot down six times and wounded twice and received a Bronze Star with V (for heroism in ground combat), three Distinguished Flying Crosses, an Army Medal with V and two Purple Hearts.
His medals, and their accompanying certificates, now grace the wall of his office at Crown C, a family company he helped start in 1976 to supply contractors in eastern Missouri with roofing products (including Atlas asphalt shingles and other roofing materials), siding, windows and doors.
Founders Day Party And Philanthropy
The annual Founders Day event at ABC Supply in Melbourne, FL is cause for celebration – and charitable outreach.
“It’s a fun time. We look forward to it,” Branch Manager Shane Meeks said of the party his branch of the ABC chain has hosted for the past seven years. Everyone is invited: workers, vendors, friends and family. ABC grills some burgers and dogs, organizes party games and gives out prizes to the winners.
Participants pay $1 to get in, and many give an additional donation as well. Customers also can bring donations and leave them in the cardboard barrels at the store. All proceeds go to a charity chosen by the local branch.
This year’s event was held on June 10 at Wickham Park in Melbourne and included a bounce house for the kids. About 400 people attended, Meeks said, and the event raised $2,100. The branch also will be collecting cans through the month of June.
Both a check for the amount raised and the canned goods will be presented to Stand Up To Hunger, a project of Second Harvest Food Bank.
The choice of a charity is up to the individual branches, Meeks said, and his location is one of several that opted to participate.
Second Harvest, according to its website, is a nonprofit organization that collects, donates and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties in Central Florida. Last year, Second Harvest provided served families, kids and seniors by providing some 52 million meals. Second Harvest also is a member of Feeding America, a network of more than 200 food banks nationwide. In addition to food drives, Second Harvest also accepts individual donations.
The Melbourne ABC branch is proud to do its part to make Melbourne and Brevard County a better place.
“Hunger is a real issue in our community,” Meeks said. “Some people have to choose between buying food and paying the rent or mortgage or even getting their medicine. If our food drive helps even some of those people, it will have been more than worthwhile.”
The Atlas Way
Giving back is part of the Atlas Roofing creed as well. As a corporation, Atlas has partnered or worked with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and StormScamHelp.com. Atlas roof shingles have protected houses that are part of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dream Home raffles. The company also is proud to donate roofing materials to contractors involved in charitable building projects in their communities.
For additional information on the many projects Atlas is part of across the nation, visit Asphalt-Life.com.