Cardinal Pet Care Employees Rally Around Co-Worker Following Philippines Typhoon
For a company like Cardinal Pet Care whose philosophy is “Devoted to Pets, People & the Planet,it’s only natural to help one of their own through a very difficult time. This was clearly demonstrated recently at Cardinal Pet Care and its sister company Westwood Laboratories. Employees of the Azusa-based pet products company banded together to lend emotional and financial support to fellow worker Brian Surpia, a native of the Philippines whose family was among the millions displaced by Typhoon Haiyan.
Although not as well known in the US as Hurricane Katrina or Sandy, Haiyan, with its 195-mile-per-hour winds was stronger and more destructive. The super storm slammed into the Philippines on November 8, 2013. Surpia, who is from the Philippines town of Tacloban, was understandably distraught about the fate of his family following the devastating storm. It was then that his “work family” stepped in.
Led by Cardinal Pet Care and Westwood Laboratories president and CEO Tony de Vos, Surpia’s fellow workers provided him with a strong network of emotional support. The Cardinal/Westwood family also paid living expenses for Surpia’s Filipino family, who lost their home and all their possessions in the storm.
“We can’t even imagine what these people endured and are continuing to endure,” said de Vos. “Our collective hearts go out to them. Those of us who work with Brian every day — who know him, appreciate him and regard him as part of our family — really wanted to do something to help.”
As friends of Surpia, the Cardinal/Westwood employees knew that he had to be back in the Philippines with his family. Company employees raised funds, which de Vos matched dollar for dollar, to provide Surpia with enough money to clear the debris from their property and buy all the building materials needed to help his family rebuild their home and their lives.
“As a company, we operate under the mission statement ‘Devoted To Pets, People and the Planet.’ This was an opportunity to put that principle into practice in way that is very personal for all of us at Cardinal Pet Care and Westwood Laboratories,” said de Vos. “This money will do a lot of good in helping Brian’s family rebuild their lives.
Since arriving in the Philippines, Surpia has been in contact with de Vos, describing conditions that remain almost intolerable months after the storm. “It’s really an incredible experience to the point where anyone will appreciate the little things available to us in the States,” he wrote in an email.
This is a sentiment shared by everyone at Cardinal and Westwood. “When something like this happens to the family of someone you know, it reminds you of what’s really important in life,” said de Vos. “I could not be prouder of the way our Cardinal/Westwood family rallied around one of its own during a very trying time.”