On May 3, 1999, deadly tornadoes hit the state of Oklahoma. Hundreds of families were displaced, and thousands of homes and personal vehicles were destroyed. There was a critical need for personal goods of clothing, food, water, baby items and even pet supplies. Before the cry went out for help, Oklahomans were mobilizing to help their own neighbors.
Steve Keim heard the cry for help and heeded the call. He took it upon himself to enlist his fellow employees at Conoco to action. First, he contacted the Philanthropic Volunteer Employee Coordinator to assure that efforts were not duplicated. He then made the necessary arrangements to have a table set up in a heavy traffic area, signs constructed, volunteers mustered and donation boxes made available.
Keim spent his lunch hour working with other employees to collect monetary donations and goods for the tornado victims. Less than three hours later, Keim and his fellow recruits had collected over three thousand dollars in addition to non-perishable foods, health and beauty aids and pet supplies. That same evening, Keim volunteered his time at the local Salvation Army. There, he helped load items being sent to the affected areas.
The story does not end there. Conoco arranged to have a trailer available the next day. Its purpose would be for employees to bring any items they wished to donate to the relief effort. Keim unloaded cars, helped load the trailer and even made and labeled boxes. He tabulated the contributions and did whatever else was necessary to help the operation flow smoothly. He continues to work with the effort at the Conoco complex and within the community to aid those who are still experiencing some displacement due to the tornadoes.
Keim received a certificate of appreciation from the Philanthropic Office. They could not offer any monetary award, but he advised even if they did, he would not have accepted it. He felt the Feed the Children or Salvation Army would need any monies earmarked for him to help those still fighting to get back to normalcy.
Steve Keim was a beacon of hope to his community. He did not hesitate to not only help those in need but to organize a lot of the effort. He selflessly gave of any and all of his free time and enlisted others to do the same. He embodies the true spirit of service.