A chilly wind nips at the employees of Executive Las Vegas, a transportation company, as they huddle together April 2 to honor Peter Hirsz, a driver who died of cancer in March.
Despite the sporadic raindrops, the employees remain listening to the Rev. Martin Haghani’s prayer, which refers to Hirsz as “one of (their) brothers.”
“I worked with (Hirsz) for nine years, and he was a very nice guy,” said driver Tammy Desindes. “He was one tough cookie. He never said one word about being in pain.”
Since opening about nine years ago, Executive, 3950 W. Tompkins Ave., has raised money and resources for more than 15 employees and their families with bills, funeral costs, college tuition and more.
Originally from Poland, Hirsz’s family in Europe could not afford to have his body returned home.
“(Hirsz) was one of the original 15 drivers hired when we opened,” said co-owner Jim Jimmerson. “He was one of ours, and we are very proud to say that he was one of ours.”
The 500 employees at Executive raised enough money to cover the funeral costs before the court even granted them authority over his remains.
“They take their time and hard-earned dollars to support their co-workers,” Jimmerson said. “Sometimes, it’s for people they don’t know, whether it’s the son or granddaughter of a co-worker, yet they still continue to help.”
Staff members also raised money to cover funeral expenses for former employees Betsy Hutchinson in 2010 and Rebecca Floyd and Burt Long in 2013.
The employees helped pay for bills and medical expenses for Ron Stevens in 2005, James Hager, Debra Schiff and Tia-Marie Damman in 2010, Krystal Ayala in 2011, Gwen Diaz in 2012 and Habtamu Tegegne in 2013.
When employee Cynthia Montoya died of cancer in 2008, Executive raised money to send her two children allowances for six months.
The staff paid for one semester at Pennsylvania State University for worker Korinne Smyth’s son after his financial aid was denied in 2009.
Employee Evelyn Velasquez fell into a coma after experiencing flu-like symptoms in 2010. For eight months, her co-workers paid her bills, raised her children and read to her at the hospital.
“Without our staff’s support, all these things wouldn’t have been possible,” said co-owner Carol Jimmerson. “Believe me, there isn’t a whole lot of people in this industry who will donate their time and money so openly.”
Jim Jimmerson said the company runs and acts as a family, so everyone lends a hand when someone is in need.
“I think Executive distinguishes itself from all other companies by the virtues of strength and family,” Jim said. “We make all our employees a part of our family. We look to each other to make us stronger.”
Contact Southwest View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.