Boeing employees "pack a plane" with humanitarian supplies

For the first time, employees are able to provide supplies for Boeing Humanitarian Delivery Flight program

October 28, 2015 in Our Community

When Boeing employees participated in the annual Boeing on the Move physical activity this year, they were able to count their steps on pedometers and take charge of their exercise plans. Those who reached their goals were rewarded with well-earned gift cards, but many hundreds of employees found the ability to give that gift away even more rewarding.

Renton employee Michael Villanueva is one of those generous employees who chose to donate their reward of 50 to 100 dollars to Seattle Alliance Outreach (SAO) a charity that helps treat kidney dialysis patients, and trains doctors in Ethiopia.

“I think it was a real great option this year,” said Villanueva. “I don’t need a gift card to motivate me. What was a better motivator, was knowing that whatever I was doing was helping somebody.”

Villanueva was not alone in his altruism. All told, Boeing employees donated more than $100,000 dollars - money Seattle Alliance Outreach is carefully spending to stock the new kidney dialysis clinic they are opening in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“The SAO doctors are dedicated not only to treat the patient, but also to make the medical knowledge transfer,” explained Bahiru Egziabihar, a Seattle Alliance Outreach board member. “So the patient gets the treatment and the doctors get the knowledge, the know-how.”

“Renal failure is a terrible disease because the treatment is only a matter of money,” said Richard Solazzi, president of Seattle Alliance Outreach. “The goods we’re sending now will make this program possible. For patients, these boxes (and contents) are a shot at life. It’s that dramatic.”

This Humanitarian Delivery Flight took place on board a new Ethiopian Airlines 777 freighter. Ethiopian Airlines has partnered with Boeing on Humanitarian Delivery Flights aboard their new airplanes 26 times over the years.

By Deborah Feldman

Seattle Alliance Outreach board members Nuru Tuku (left) and Bahiru Egziabihar (right) stand next to pallets filled with medical supplies headed to their charity’s clinic in Ethiopia. Many of the items were paid for by donations by boeing employees.

Tim Stake