Rick, his wife. and daughter.

What must it be like to lose everything? I mean everything.

My family, thankfully, hasn’t experienced that ourselves, but we have lived in the mountains where wildfires occur periodically, and there are some telltale signs other than the smell of smoke. The sun can take on an eerie orange-red color.

But in August, as Hurricane Dora passed the Hawaiian island chain, causing strong winds and downed powerlines that sparked wildfires, there weren’t any indications of how bad it was on Maui, and there were absolutely no signs of urgency on the Big Island where I was on vacation with my family. It was surreal that other than news reports, there was no talk about what was happening on Maui, and most people seemed unaware or disconnected from what was happening less than 100 miles away.

Hawaii is a special place for our family. My wife and I honeymooned there, we’ve traveled there every year since, and we have friends that live there. There was no way that we could be in our most spiritual place as a family and not do something to help. So, my wife and I began to ask around about how we could get involved. Through a local friend, we found out about a donation collection site that would take place in Waimea. But it wouldn’t get set up until after we were scheduled to leave. So, we decided to extend our stay and worked together with our resort to set up donation boxes and put out some information about the Waimea collection site and other local resources. Then, we drove to the store to pick up baby wipes, diapers, formula, baby bottles, and other necessities to fill the boxes. Over the next few days, in the spirit of Aloha, my wife, daughter, and I quietly integrated ourselves into the packing of the supplies and setup and teardown of the collection site.

Rick's daughter holding up a sign that reads, "I can help."I wasn’t thinking about it then, but I was able to use Time2Give for the days we extended our trip. This benefit unique to Cisco encourages employees to take up to 80 hours of paid time off each year in addition to our regular paid time off to give back. Then, at Cisco IMPACT (Cisco’s global sales conference), my team got together and, through a challenge, generated $1000 that we submitted to Cisco’s Community Impact Portal for Hawaii fires disaster relief, where Cisco matched that with an additional $1000. To date, this campaign has raised nearly $400,000 to help people facing the unimaginable.

We talk about two themes in our family with our daughter: polishing your heart and making your actions worthy of imitation. This was a valuable firsthand experience in both. Our decision to stay in Hawaii was made without question. It came from our hearts with the utmost respect for the people and place we love, and that decision was wholly supported by Cisco. Those same themes we value as a family are reflected in this company in the ways it has our back, supporting us in doing what we feel is important, and how leadership makes it easy to walk the walk when it comes to giving back. Other companies may say it, but we live it. And through that, I can say I have the best job at Cisco. I work on the best team in Cisco, and I work for the best company in the world.

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Rick Bauer

Technical Solutions Architect

Campus Automation - Americas