Braas Company and Employees Give Back

There has been a longstanding tradition at Braas Company of encouraging community service and giving back in whatever way possible by our employees. These acts include charitable giving and volunteering through groups like Habitat for Humanity, Feed My Starving Children, and others.

Recently, long time employee Dan Toynton (11 years) joined a team of volunteers for a trip to a remote area in the Dominican Republic called Bajos De Haina Link To De Haina Map – his second trip in as many years. While the volunteer team faced significant adversity, including language barriers, rough terrain, primitive tools, and extreme heat, they managed to build 4 homes in 7 days for Dominican families that were in severe need of help.

History: Picture a shanty town of impoverished people living in a hilly region outside of Santa Domingo that, five years ago, had no practical access to fresh water. The school here was so poorly run that many families elected not to have their children attend at all. A local pastor named Pedro had a passion for these people but struggled for over a decade to bring significant change. He decided to find an outside resource and located a US-based church that wanted to help. Pedro communicated his vision for transforming the community and a partnership was formed.

Five years later, there are now comfortable houses being built, including some by the more affluent that will withstand the next hurricane disaster (the last direct hit was in 1999). There is now a sustainable and affordable purified/chlorinated water delivery service that creates jobs for local people in addition to being a reliable source of clean drinking water. And there is also significant focus on education – a modern high school is being built on the edge of town. Education is a vital component in having a successful future for all people, and the new high school is an enormous step forward. It seems that the little shanty town is now on the map and getting noticed by the DR government.

Pastor Pedro is now helping other local pastors in the Dominican Republic, as well as in neighboring Haiti, to use their community transformation as a template for real and sustainable change. Dan stated, “We are so blessed to be able to do this kind of work and serve in this way. It seems that the perspective that this kind of experience brings may benefit the volunteer as much as the people that are on the receiving end.”