ITW Heartland Employee Lives Out Company Values On African Mission Trip

Two of ITW Heartland Values: Service and Giving Back

“It is a powerful experience to immerse yourself in the African culture. And in giving of yourself, you soon learn that you take back so much more than you could ever leave behind.”

ITW Heartland Employee On African Mission Trip

Lois Drexler recently returned home from an international trip she’ll never forget. She didn’t vacation in a five-star hotel on a sandy beach or ride a cruise ship with her best friends. Her destination was Kenya, Africa where she worked and served in a local parish.

Drexler, an ITW Heartland Customer Service Representative, was part of a 20-delegate team, including her daughter, Alisha. The mission trip took place March 4-18, 2009 and was coordinated by the Catholic diocese in St. Cloud and the diocese of Homa Bay in Kenya. The partnership, in its tenth year, offers volunteers a chance to participate in service and mission while immersing themselves in the local culture.

Immersion was a highlight of their experience. For half of their trip, Lois and Alisha stayed in a parish house of two missionary priests from Tanzania. Each day, they visited schools, clinics, hospitals and local offices learning about life in Eastern Africa, and sharing about life in the United States. They heard first-hand the differences in culture concerning language, healthcare, and the role of women; and the similarities regarding education and family.

Returning with remarkable stories and testimonies, Lois and Alisha agreed the trip was truly an eye-opening experience. They were stunned at the vast poverty they encountered. Many of the people they helped lived in homes with clay or dirt walls and roofs of grass. An occasional home was made from clay bricks, if the family could afford it.

“Despite the poverty, we were amazed at how happy the Kenyan people were,” said Drexler. “They have so very little and yet one woman gave us her last chicken to eat. I learned that people having the least to give, sometimes show the greatest hospitality.”

About ITW Heartland
ITW Heartland is a certified leader in precision engineered machines, parts, gears, and electro-mechanical products. Located in Alexandria, Minnesota, ITW Heartland has four distinct divisions: Spiroid Gearing (design and manufacturing of custom right angle drives, gear boxes and loose gearing); Manufactured Products (low to mid quantity precision machining with a specific expertise in horizontal CNC technology); Strategic Assembly Solutions (complete machine design and assembly services); and ITW Gear Machines (designer and manufacturer of full line of high speed gear inspection and gear burnishing die equipment). As an Illinios Tool Works Company, ITW Heartland operates from a position of financial stability, engineering excellence, and refined manufacturing process.

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