“Community Involvement.” Companies aspire to this goal and frequently consider this an important component of their corporate mission statement. Whether donating to charities, providing sponsorship dollars or in-kind donations for local community events, “giving back” is important and valuable to all involvement. Quite frequently, however, this involvement is generic in nature. “We give to this organization,” or “We contribute this sum of money to this cause.”
At On Site Companies in St. Paul, Minnesota, this principle is very personal, very real and involves a very special person. James Hines, who celebrated his 26th birthday on August 27th, has been very special to On Site since he was eight years old.
Karen and Dave Holm first learned about James when his mother Cathy wrote a “To whom it may concern” letter to them asking what may seem to be a very unusual request. She went on to describe James and his somewhat add fascination with, as she describes them, the “On Site Sanitation biffs”. Cathy went on to say that her son was at a University of Minnesota care facility, and that he had a condition called Asperger Syndrome. At the time he was having quite a difficult time.
This condition is an autism spectrum disorder that sometimes causes individuals to become abnormally focused on a particular thing. In James’ case, this fixation happened to be On Site Sanitation’s portable restrooms.
Cathy’s request to Karen and Dave was simple. She asked in On Site would consider sending her son James a few items with the On Site logo on them. She thought that perhaps a decal, key chain, cap or t-shirt would be jus the thing to cheer James up.
A wide variety of promotional items, t-shirts and hats were promptly sent. In return James sent a thank you letter and included a picture of himself with the full On Site logoed gear on, which was very proudly displayed in their main office.
James’ Aunt Christina, by sheer coincidence on a sales cold call for her employer, visited On Site and saw the picture of James and his thank you not proudly hung in their office. Aunt Christina has lovingly cared for James and fostered and maintained this rather odd relationship as an act of love. It is her way of helping her nephew with one of his passions. Christina keeps everyone at On Site updated on all the happenings in James very busy social life.He is a regular on a Minnesota Special olympics softball team call the Lakers and also plays basketball and loves to bowl. James and his family have a standing invitation to just about every On Site event, including the company Christmas sock/mitten exchange party and the annual company picnic in October. James loves to see all of the equipment and visit with anyone who will talk about portable toilets bearing the On Sit logo. He is also very quick to let anyone at On Site know when one of their restrooms is not up to par.
James holds a job at a Holiday gas station with the help of a community based program that assists developmentally challenged people with all aspects of their life. This gas station is on the same street, just a few miles south of On Site Sanitation. Every morning, when James goes to work, he puts on his favorite On Site florescent green safety jacket and baseball cap. While working, James keeps a watchful eye out and does a daily tally of how may On Site trucks, trailers and restrooms pass by the gas station. After work, James very often “persuades” his group home driver to swing through the On Site Companies yard so he can see the trucks and equipment.
Portable toilets are not the only things James is passionate about. He is also fascinated with, and has a very extensive knowledge of, Classic 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music. His Aunt Christina helped him create his own CD called James 10 Favorite James of All-Time! His number one favorite song is Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride!” James has an amazing ability to be given any year of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and be able to tell you what songs were recorded in that year and who recorded them.
Our friend James is truly a testament to the love of a family for a very special person. He has so many people in his life who are committed to making sure James feels loved and supported. From his mother, Cathy, who was willing to do whatever she could to cheer her son up while he was in the hospital, to his Aunt Christina, who brings James to visit his friends at On Site and created web page to track all of James special events at www.superchristina.com. James’ Grandmother Linda also wrote a very beautiful poem of her love for James for his birthday and his stepfather Tom, better known as “Thomas Jefferson” to James, who loves to give people aliases. James also has Chandler, a family friend and of course Willie the family dog.
Having attending James’ Birthday Party on August 27th, Karen Holm said “James has been a very special friend to all of us at On Site Companies. We are very blessed to have him and his family as part of our company and our lives.”
Community involvement is more than a phrase at On Site Companies; it has ben an 18 year commitment that brings much joy and love to a very special person. Right back at you James!
Send James an email at JamesLovesOnsite@hotmail.comx