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'JUST INCREDIBLE' | Kentwood company donates to child patients, tornado survivors

The company's initiatives are employee-driven and focus on giving back to children in West Michigan and beyond.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — Ryan Hornack is a father of two, so kids hold a special place in his heart. His co-workers at Fifth Wheel Freight on 44th Street SE feel the same way, and Hornack says they want to help children in any way they can.

"We found it to be a huge push, from especially younger generations, that they want to give back to their community," said Hornack, who serves as the chief marketing officer for the company.

"It's just such a huge focal point of our initiatives here and when we do give back, we try to help as many people as we can, but we really love helping kids."

This holiday season, Fifth Wheel Freight has been able to give back to children in two ways. One way was planned. The other was simply reacting when they noticed there was a major need.

The company does toy drives every year, and recently started a partnership with the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Foundation. They raised enough money and toy donations to make sure each in-patient child at the hospital will receive a gift this holiday season. There will also be extra toys left over for special occasions down the road like birthdays and end-of-treatment celebrations.

"It's just incredible, and we're honestly so grateful that our team gave back to the extent that they did, to provide enough to go around for every child that's in treatment currently," Hornack said.

Then, when the team at Fifth Wheel Freight saw the news that a tornado had killed dozens of people in western Kentucky, they knew they needed to step up again.

"It was essentially a last-minute initiative because obviously, we didn't plan far ahead for this type of thing to happen as a country," Hornack said.

"There's a school in Lansing, Michigan that was initiating a drive for school supplies for students in that impacted area in Mayfield."

The school put the call out for others to help them with their school supply drive, and Fifth Wheel Freight joined in. Along with raising school supplies for the cause, they put their industry expertise to good use.

Credit: Fifth Wheel Freight

"We actually coordinated the logistics behind it and took care of all the shipping costs to to get the school supplies down there," Hornack said.

While many companies give back, especially during the holidays and during disasters, Hornack says the team at Fifth Wheel Freight is special because workers on the ground floor are leading the charge to bring about positive action.

"I really want these initiatives to really reflect the team that is here at Fifth Wheel Freight. It's not just coming from leadership saying we need to give back. It comes from every team member that's in here," he said.

"It makes your job really awesome whenever you're able to work alongside people like that."

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