Long-Time Supporter Creates A Legacy of Giving Back
Through a company-wide giving program, generous employees at ERB Industries have been longtime supporters of the Dean Stroud Spine and Pain Institute.
One the homepage of ERB Industries website (E-ERB.COM), Shepherd Center’s logo sits in the bottom left corner with the words “ERB Employees Support” above it. The message is subtle, but demonstrates ERB Industries’ long-standing commitment to Shepherd Center in general, and – more specifically – to the Dean Stroud Spine and Pain Institute.
The relationship started with the company’s founder, Bill Erb. As a longtime friend of Shepherd Center co-founder Harold Shepherd, Bill and his wife, Florrie (Florence Hays Erb), were generous and consistent supporters of the hospital, both through personal contributions as well as through the company, which manufactures personal protective safety products. In 1998, Bill started an employee giving program in which ERB Industries employees have the choice to contribute to Shepherd Center through payroll deduction. The support has been going strong ever since.
“Shepherd Center is a charity of choice for ERB Industries,” says Sheila Eads, the company’s CEO. “For over 20 years, we have been committed to supporting the hospital’s mission.”
Supporting Shepherd Center is aligned with ERB Industries’ main objective: to protect workers from an injury through protective products for hearing and breathing, as well as for the head, eyes, face and hands. They also produce a host of other safety products.
“We provide quality products that help protect people on the front end from injury,” Eads says, “And Shepherd Center helps them after they’ve been injured. It relates to what we do as a company, and it’s more powerful to have that tie in.”
Eads says that at the beginning of the employee giving program, the company had annual gatherings where Shepherd Center co-founders Harold and Alana Shepherd would attend and speak about Shepherd Center and the impact that contributions from ERB employees had on the patients. The company has also taken employees on tours of Shepherd Center so they can see firsthand the work Shepherd Center does.
“Shepherd Center treats people with catastrophic injuries and chronic pain by not just giving them care, but by also giving them hope,” Eads says. “ERB Industries is proud to be a part of that.”
Shepherd Center’s Spine and Pain Institute opened in 2000. After it moved to a new space within Shepherd Center in 2007, it was named after Bill’s 13-year-old grandson, Dean Stroud. Dean passed away in a boating accident in 2004 and before the new space opened, Bill made a generous gift to Shepherd Center in Dean’s honor. Since the naming of the Dean Stroud Spine and Pain Institute, ERB Industry’s employee contributions – which had been going to Shepherd Center’s general fund – were designated exclusively for the Dean Stroud Spine and Pain Institute.
During their lifetimes, the Erbs made many generous gifts. Shepherd Center’s third floor patient care wing was named in memory of Florrie with a gift from Bill. He also made a gift to name a patient room on the fifth floor in memory of Florrie, as well as a room in the family residence center. The couple also established the Florrie and Bill Erb Injury Prevention Fund in honor of the employees of ERB Industries.
While both Bill and Florrie Erb have passed away, their giving spirit lives on through ERB Industries. Eads estimates that approximately 65 percent of ERB Industries employees currently give to Shepherd Center each month through payroll deduction. The company also continues to make monthly contributions.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of the ERB employees who have given so faithfully to the Dean Stroud Pain Institute,” says Dean Melcher, director of development operations for Shepherd Center. “It’s a very special level of engagement.”
Written by Sara Baxter
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.