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Live Mic: Employees raise nearly $200,000 to aid needy during pandemic

FILE -- Pete Schwager loads boxes of donated goods while volunteering for Shalom Salaam Tikkun Olam at West High School in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. Members and interfaith friends of Utah’s Jewish and Muslim communities, under the leadership of National Council of Jewish Women, delivered packages to roughly 15 homeless families, 450 homebound seniors and 100 refugee families. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A company founded in Utah 75 years ago raised almost $200,000 in just two days to donate to the United Way to aid Utahns feeling the economic bite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirk Aubry, president and CEO of Savage, joined Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to explain how his company raised that much money for pandemic aid so fast.

Aubry said the company has about 5,000 team members in 200 locations around the world.

“We move and manage essential materials for customers. So we run trucks and trains and boats, and we operate in power plants and chemical plants,” Aubry said. “Our purpose basically is help our customers feed the world, power our lives and sustain the planet.”

Aid for the pandemic

Aubry said the company’s 48-hour donation drive raised more money than the normal weeklong campaign of the previous year.

“Your employees opened their wallets and hearts,” Lee observed.

“They committed to $90,000 themselves, and the company matched it. So we will be giving close to $200,000 to the United Way of Salt Lake,” Aubry said.

“How does that make you feel?” Lee asked.

What’s great is what it makes our team feel. They recognized that there are people out there who are really suffering,” Aubry said.

“It was a great way to rally our organization. I heard from a lot of our team members that it made them feel really good to be able to do something while they’re being told to shelter in place…where they are restricted from doing the kind of voluntary activities that we do a lot of,” Aubry said.

United Way of Salt Lake

Bill Crim, United Way of Salt Lake President and CEO, called the pandemic aid from Savage and its employees “game changing.”

“Their example of rising to the challenge, of thinking beyond their own immediate crisis, was super-inspiring to our team and inspired other companies to do the same,” Crim said.

“Let’s give credit where credit is due. Can you name any of those other companies?” Lee asked.

He cited WCF Insurance and Zions Bancorporation as beginning donation campaigns.

Crim urged Utahns who need immediate help during this crisis to visit the United Way of Utah website.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 spreads person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line 18004567707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.