Haitian-born Johnny Pierre has found his piece of the American Dream. He overcame great hardship, growing up in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and worked hard to become an engineer at Florida Power & Light Company. Now Pierre spends his free time helping others from his native Haiti achieve their own success.
“Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it certainly is rewarding when you know that your actions are directly helping someone,” said Pierre. “My family and I moved to the United States from Haiti when I was nine years old. I'm 27 now and I have had many wonderful opportunities during my life, and I like to extend help to my former homeland whenever possible.”
Pierre is an engineer at FPL’s Broward Service Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and responsible for making sure the power lines coming in and going out of substations are operating efficiently, thus leading to reliable service for customers. As a student at the University of South Florida, Pierre and his friends created Nouvelle Generation, an organization to help residents of Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic - two of the poorest and least developed areas in the world. Not solely a fundraising organization, Pierre and the organizations co-founders personally visit the islands to tackle projects that can have a direct impact on the local community.
“All year long, we collect donations and items like shoes, clothing and school supplies, and we figure out the least expensive way to ship supplies to the islands,” said Pierre. “Then we travel there once a year to personally deliver the goods to groups or individuals that we know need the help. Sure, it'd be nice to take a vacation and just relax, but for me, that wouldn't come close to matching the feeling I get from helping others in need.”
During their most recent trip, the group visited orphanages and bateyes, or large sugar cane farming towns, to distribute supplies in addition to helping a woman whose school had been nearly destroyed during last year’s devastating earthquake. According to Pierre, for the school’s impoverished students, there is no other option - there isn't a bus system to take them to another school, and they can't afford to pay for transportation, so much of the visit was dedicated to helping repair the facility so the kids could get back in the classroom as soon as possible.
“My friends and I enjoy seeing the difference our organization is making, and we always appreciate new volunteers or donations,” said Pierre. “The support I have received from the people I work with here at FPL has been terrific and it has helped a lot of kids and adults who otherwise would have nothing.”
To see photos and learn more about Pierre's trip, visit http://www.fplblog.com/?p=987. For more information on the organization and how to help, visit http://nouvelleg.org/NouvelleGeneration/.
About Florida Power & Light Company:
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with approximately 10,000 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE).