Passionate Problem-Solving: Hailey Mick Serves Her Community in the Aftermath
Anyone who’s ever worked with Hailey Mick knows all about her passion for problem-solving. As an Engineering Applications and Technical Sales Manager for IMI Hydronic Engineering, Hailey has helped thousands of customers find the best hydronic balancing solutions to meet their projects’ needs. Or as Eric Gaumer of HPS Specialties, a key business partner located in Maryland, recently put it, “Hailey has us covered on the technical side.”
So, her response to the deadly tornado that struck Chattanooga, Tennessee just before midnight on Easter Sunday is not surprising. Hailey, her husband John and five-year-old son EJ awoke out of the pitch-black night to find “unfathomable destruction.” Her neighborhood in East Brainerd had taken the full brunt of the EF-3 storm, a path 1500 feet wide and on the ground for an unheard of 8 minutes.
Video footage courtesy of @hoag.
The Mick’s were lucky, with minimal damage to their home. But 9 doors down, the story was different. “Blocks of houses now uninhabitable, massive trees on the ridge like toothpicks, tree root balls taller than an SUV lying on their sides, piles of rubble everywhere, the roads impassable, blocked by trees,” says Hailey. “My beautiful, peaceful neighborhood now completely devastated.”
Looking back, Hailey recognizes she was in shock at that moment, trying to process, grieving for the area’s profound loss. “What we saw broke my heart. I had to do something, to put my energy to good use and help.” And so, she sprang into action, sending John to the grocery store, just one mile away but now a three-hour round trip across blocked roads, for lunch supplies. That first lunch, Hailey fed over 300 neighbor families, busy searching the rubble for anything salvageable.
To sustain her personal rescue efforts, Hailey contacted family, friends, colleagues, raising over $2,000. With these funds, she marshalled resources to prepare over 1,500 meals, feeding her neighbors, sheriff’s deputies, volunteers, some who came from neighboring states to clear roads and repair the electrical grid. She worked with a local barbecue restaurant to deliver 250 hot meals to one street where every home was unlivable; delivered groceries to an elderly woman who had been trapped in her home for 6 days; bought beds and bedding for children whose trailer home had been destroyed.
Hailey’s passion to solve East Brainerd’s immediate problems has been unrelenting. Today, she describes herself as blessed by the opportunity to have served and the support she received from family, friends and IMI Hydronic Engineering alike. “I have never been prouder to be part of the IMI family. They gave me the time to help my community.”
That pride is mutual. Chris Rodgers, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for IMI Hydronic Engineering, noted, “Hailey embodies our company values – Integrity, Excellence, Innovation, Collaboration, Customer Focus – every day working with our sales rep network and their customers, and now too by stepping up to help her community.”
With reinforcements in place, the roads cleared and power restored, Hailey is happy to return to work and a new sense of normal. “I know our neighborhood will never be the same, but we’re looking forward. Reflecting on the amazing amount of work done already, she’s thankful. “I always wanted to go on a mission trip with my church. I just didn’t expect the mission to be in my own backyard.”