As is often the case these days, Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director and Owner of mechanical engineering company BHS-Sonthofen, had to make an announcement: “Unfortunately, the current situation surrounding the pandemic and the rapidly rising case numbers has forced us to cancel the Christmas party for our 500 employees for the second time.” The plan for 2021 was to set up a kind of Christmas market to ensure that everyone could keep a safe distance from one another and be in the fresh air.
Employees would have been able to sample the delights of the mulled wine and Christmas cookie stands that were going to be dotted around the plant grounds. Management had the idea of spending the afternoon together and looking back on the past year while enjoying a winter wonderland atmosphere.
“Seeing as we aren’t able to do what we had planned with our employees, we decided to make a monetary donation to a local relief organization,” explains Kemmann. The amount that the company would otherwise spend on organizing the Christmas party will be donated to the public.
A fire in June 2021 meant the company, which is based in Sonthofen, had to experience first-hand just how vital the quick and professional deployment of the mostly volunteer members of the relief organizations is. “The rapid intervention of the Sonthofen fire department and the company’s own fire department was the only thing that stopped the flames from spreading,” says Kemmann, referring to the production hall, which normally manufactures equipment for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries that is used all over the world.
The Sonthofen fire department already knows exactly how it will put the donation of €10,000 to good use: it is planning to purchase a new wastewater pump and the related equipment. Fire Chief Markus Adler explains why this investment is sorely needed: “We have seen more extreme weather in recent years, including hail, torrential rain, and flooded buildings to name a couple of examples, and this isn’t exclusive to us here in the Upper Allgäu either. Removing the mud and water after this type of weather event is a massive challenge for firefighters.” The new wastewater pump, loaded on a roll container and ready for action, will help them with the removal process. “It will pump 2,500 liters of wastewater per minute, so it’s an important purchase for the Sonthofen fire department,” says Adler.
But the Sonthofen fire department are not the only ones getting a helping hand from the medium-sized mechanical engineering company. Together with the Works Council, BHS-Sonthofen staff collected €2,675 in donations to express their appreciation and gratitude to the intensive care nurses at Immenstadt Hospital for their efforts in combating COVID-19. Management matched the amount, meaning the team at the hospital can look forward to a final total of €5,350.