The fear and darkness are vivid memories for Richan, whose home in Cebu in the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Rai in 2021, and the tears flow as she recounts the storm’s aftermath and how her employers helped her in a difficult time.
“I’m getting emotional right now,” said Richan as she got choked up with tears, recounting how Mark and Anne Lackey, owners of HireSmart Virtual Employees and HireSmart Cares, stepped in to help her family — and other HireSmart employees — after the typhoon.
The storm took out electricity in her community for a month, but HireSmart helped Richan find light, literally.
“The financial assistance they gave us was really good,” she said. “We were able to buy generators.”
Richan, who serves as a resource support specialist for a property management client in California, was able to continue performing tasks for her client during the extended power outage. And her family was able to have times of relative normalcy in the month-long blackout thanks to the electricity.
“We did at least get to experience a little bit of comfort because we knew we could do something,” she said, noting that the family watched some TV and charged its electrical devices during the four hours in the morning and four hours at night that they ran the generator set.
Though the internet was also out at her house for a month, she was able to find places with access, and she continued working.
“There were signals in a few areas,” she said. “So when I learned about it, I would take my laptop there.”
Her teenage daughter could also continue with her online classes thanks to the generators that kept her computer charged.
Richan discovered the financial help from HireSmart eight days after the storm when she was able to check her bank account and messages.
“I was just surprised something was in there,” she said. “I was checking, and I think, ‘Oh my God, what's this?’ And then I got this email saying that it came from HireSmart. I said, ‘Oh my God, thank you so much!’”
Richan and her husband have three children — two teens and a toddler. She said Dec. 16, 2021, the day of Typhoon Rai, was horrifying.
“We were really frightened that day,” she said. “I think it was the scariest day of my life. I was thinking if the roof gets ripped off, where could we go after that.”
The family huddled in their home that night as the typhoon tore off part of their roof. They survived the storm, but there was considerable damage to the roof, which became evident as water leaked into the house during the storm.
Richan, who worked in an Australian-based software company for 12 years, has been with HireSmart for nearly four years.
She said she is thrilled to work at home and care for her family, who she says is a tight-knit crew.
“My oldest is in his first year of college, and he's taking up nursing,” said Richan, whose youngest child is 2. “And the second one is in senior high school. They both love to dance and sing.”
Richan said HireSmart is a great place to work because it helps families spend time together and supports families when they’re hit with hard times, such as a typhoon.
“They (HireSmart) were concerned and checking in to see how we were doing,” said Richan. “You know somebody cares, and you can count on them. They really are family!”