Paige Sims

Members from Oxford’s Square D, a company off of U.S. Route 27, have begun to tell stories from their recent trip to Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Between Jan. 29-30, three Oxford residents joined 200 Square D affiliates to partner with Habitat for Humanity to assist in reconstruction efforts.

Square D plant manager and Oxford resident Eric Everman said it was not a problem to help with the Katrina effort.

“In one full day and two half days, our team built three houses, a playground and a shelter,” Everman said. “We have always been encouraged to help out at a local level, but it was a no-brainer to go down and provide help after the disaster.”

Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit Christian housing ministry, relies on donations from partnerships with major corporations such as Square D, who distributed electrical and industrial control products in order to help fund electrical equipment for use in Habitat homes built throughout North America.

The national branch of Square D, which is a part of Schneider Electric, brought together 200 nationwide affiliates to help in the effort. The company participated in the first Habitat trip that took the Habitat-Square D partnership out of Butler County.

According to Everman, about 12 years ago Square D partnered with Habitat for Humanity to participate in rebuilding projects throughout Mississippi.

Square D’s Web site states that the company distributed electrical and industrial control products, systems and services. The Web site also said the two organizations originally came together because of Square D’s commitment to contribute electrical equipment to be used in rebuilding homes within the United States.

However, in 2006, Square D renewed its partnership with Habitat for Humanity, announcing that its plans to donate $7 million over the next four and a half years, in Square D electrical equipment to the Habitat foundation.

The Square D employees traveled to Gautier, Miss., a small coastal town that was completely devastated by Katrina’s violent storms, to announce their renewed partnership and to dedicate some time in building Habitat homes for those impacted by the Hurricane.

Duane Bates, national Habitat for Humanity public relations chair, commented on Square D’s contribution to Habitat for Humanity.

“Since our partnership, which began about a dozen years ago, Square D has donated close to $6 million worth of electrical equipment to Habitat projects throughout the United States,” Bates said.

According to Bates, in addition to the Katrina endeavor, the partnership has begun funding one-day trips for Square D employee teams to participate in home building events throughout their communities.

“We are hoping that through this partnership, we will be able to get people more involved in bettering the communities in which they live.” Bates said.