“Every community is in need. A lot of times we look other places to find ways to help people—and there’s so much locally that we can do.”
Luke Morton spends 5 days—and often 5 to 6 nights—a week on the job. He’s Director of Maintenance and Capital Projects at NAP, but he also supports his community of Batavia, Ohio, by coaching young kids (three of which are his own) on various sports teams. There’s the Batavia Bull Dawgs baseball and basketball teams—his 8-year-old son, Troy, plays on those. Then there’s his daughters’ (Seaenna, 10, and Ariana, 9) volleyball team, the Mustangs. His youngest, 6-year-old Lyla, doesn't play any sports yet, but he figures he’ll probably coach her team, too, whenever she decides to join one.
“It’s my way of giving back to our community,” Luke says. “On some of these teams, there are a lot of kids from broken homes. And I feel like I’m able to make a positive impact by being somebody who’s willing to spend time with them.”
The road to becoming MVD (most valuable dad) started at a moderate speed, with the baseball team. “At first I was cautious, because I didn’t know if I would have time,” he explains. “But North American has been so supportive.” With NAP’s blessing — and a pledge to directly sponsor the Bull Dawgs baseball team—Luke quickly went from, “the guy willing to help when able, to the head coach for about every team that comes around.”
Luke explains how when Partner Tony Hobson spoke at last year’s annual awards dinner, he encouraged employees to engage in community-building activities—and said he would be willing to support them directly. “So I approached him afterward and told him what I’d been doing,” Luke says. “He said he wanted to join me in that mission and that he’d love to sponsor my team.”
It was a good bet by all accounts. The Bull Dawgs went on to win the Class D Sr. silver division title, and NAP solidified a deeper connection with a community than could ever be made by your standard charitable donation: one that helps the neighborhoods in which we build grow and prosper, as well and the people within them—employees included. “It’s a huge deal for me, starting the season with kids that may have never played a sport before, then seeing them get better, as a team and individually,” Luke adds. “It really builds their confidence—in life not just in sports.”
“All of it is a good way to teach life values, and hopefully it’s something [the kids will] carry on forever.”