Blue Raven Solar held its first annual Solar Giveaway this winter, installing a complete solar power system for free to local resident Matt Smith. On February 16th, our installers and many employees from our headquarters gathered at his home in West Valley, Utah for the culminating event of this project, the solar installation.
A Deserving Winner
For our first Solar Giveaway, we invited our current customers and friends to nominate somebody in their lives who would benefit from free solar power and energy independence. After receiving hundreds of worthy submissions, one particular nomination stood out.
“Matt was nominated by his dad who is also a Blue Raven Solar customer. We were really touched by his story,” said Ben Peterson, President.
Matt was born with a neurological disorder that left him predisposed to strokes. He had one when he was growing up, then when he was 30-years-old had another one that left him nearly helpless.
Over the next year, Matt’s wife, Deann, faithfully helped him regain many of his motor skills. Then, almost a year to the day after his stroke, Deann suddenly collapsed from a heart attack, and passed away shortly after. Matt was left to raise his daughter on his own with limited mobility and limited resources. It has no doubt been a struggle, but Matt’s grit and dedication to his daughter are noteworthy. With solar powering his home, Matt will free up additional resources to support his family.
On the day of the installation, many of our corporate employees had a chance to participate in the event. Almost 100 people drove out to Matt’s home to see and help out with the installation.
Employees spent the day learning from the installers about safety, trying on harnesses, reviewing forms, bending pipe, and even got practice mounting a panel. They learned about the different products we use and why we use them.
Ben continued, “Most of these folks work in our office so they don’t get a chance to touch and feel the equipment. This is a really exciting opportunity for us to help the office to get to know what it is we do...”.
Being there with the homeowner, Matt, and his daughter, Allison as we watched the installation, we were able to celebrate all that they have been through and the change that this will bring for their family.
Olivia, our Sr. Installations Operations Manager, said, “It’s really exciting to be able to be here and be a part of this install. I work mostly in the office so it’s really exciting for us to get out and see what we work so hard to get for our customers each day.”
As we all wrapped up, Matt was grateful and humble, not disheartened when talking about his life but accepting that challenges come and still will in the future. He knows it is not “if” but “when” he has another stroke, but quickly said he would start again when it does.
Matt has a bright daughter who is a junior in high school already working on courses to prepare to become a nurse, like her mother. Matt was gracious and could hardly contain his emotions, saying “This is absolutely incredible what these guys have done for me. They’ve helped me out financially, and as far as bills go it’s just absolutely awesome. I’m just overwhelmed with everything.”
Ben Wade, National Installation Manager, explained why he appreciated the opportunity to participate in this giveaway:
“We’re here today because we want to connect to the community. We have all the guys from the office out here and we are working together with the guys in the field… We have a strong culture to work together and connect, not only with each other in the office and the field, with our sales guys, but also with members of the community... It’s very important that we have relationships of trust. It gives us a sense of community at Blue Raven… It’s a great opportunity for us to come together and really connect."
Getting involved in the communities where the employees live is one of the main goals of our Helping Hands initiative. Jeff Lee, our VP of Sales Operations and Co-Founder, put it this way, “We love solar. We love this renewable energy and being able to give people energy independence”.
We couldn’t say it better.