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Supporting disaster relief

Aera employees open hearts in response to earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria

Aera Environmental Advisor Gulsum Rustemoglu never imagined she would feel so personally connected to a company she just started working for. She found that connection after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and northern Syria – causing widespread damage across the regions.

Aera Environmental Advisor Gulsum Rustemoglu (right) and her husband Ali Rustemoglu. Ali’s family members lost their homes in Antakya, Turkey when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and northern Syria

Rustemoglu was shocked to see the images of disaster in Antakya, Turkey – the town where her husband was born and raised, and his family still lives.

“We are fortunate that his immediate family including his sister, nephew, niece, are alive and well, but they lost their homes and moved out of Antakya after living in a car for five days, and are now trying to find a place to live,” Rustemoglu said. “My husband has lost almost 20-30% of his school friends, neighborhood, family and friends as a result of the earthquake.”

Aera’s Asian American Employee Resource Group (AAERG) inquired about launching a campaign to support disaster relief efforts in the impacted regions. Aera, through its matching gifts program matched employee donations to DirectRelief, a California-based relief organization to amplify the impact of the employee dollars. Ultimately the effort raised $10,000 for DirectRelief. It’s something Rustemoglu and Aera Engineering Supervisor Steven Shihady, were quick to support.

“I feel incredibly valued as an employee and proud of Aera for stepping up in such a huge way to support those that need it the most,” said Shihady, who is Syrian. “This is a true testament to the power of our ERGs. For employees to have the support of these resource groups to make connections and facilitate action, goes a really long way to making Aera a phenomenal place to work.”

“This was a very meaningful and true testament of how much Aera cares for its employees,” said Rustemoglu.

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