Our People: Erubiel Clara Makes the Climb to Save Lives

Once a year, Erubiel Clara takes a break from his job as a Cellar Supervisor at Hogue Winery to put on all of his firefighting equipment and climb up the 69 flights of the Seattle Columbia Tower. It’s all part of the annual Scott Firefighter Stair Climb to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Alongside 1,900 other firefighters, Erubiel (a volunteer firefighter) is able to make a difference in the lives of others. Although Erubiel describes the climb as one of the most difficult physical tasks that he’s ever had to endure, he does it in order to help others who are fighting battles of their own. 

Q: What giving back program are you involved with and most proud of? 

A: I have been involved in the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb for the last five years. The Stair Climb is the LLS’s annual fundraiser that is open solely to firefighters. The LLS donates money from this event to help develop cancer therapies and advance the production and application of many drug treatments.

Participating in the stair climb is one of the most difficult physical tasks I have endured but it pales in comparison when I think about those that are battling or have battled leukemia or lymphoma.

Q: What drives your passion for this cause?

A: I have been a volunteer firefighter for the last 10 years. Being part of an organization that gives back to my local community has been a rewarding experience. Knowing that I am able to help others makes me feel good. Being able to participate in the Firefighter Stair Climb has given me a way to also give back and make an impact on a larger scale. Seeing all of the 1,900 firefighters who participate in the stair climb is truly inspiring and I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of that community as well.

Q: Why do you feel that it is important to give back?

A: I live in a community that isn’t large enough to have the funds to staff full-time firefighters. On any given day, people need help from first responders for medical emergencies or fires so I felt that joining the volunteer fire department was the right thing to do. By volunteering , I am able to give of my time and my skills and help people in my community when they need it the most.

Q: Do you have a memory or experience related to giving back that you could never forget? 

A: During the first couple of years that I participated in the Firefighter Stair Climb, I personally didn’t know anyone impacted by leukemia or lymphoma. All of this changed three years ago. A gentleman in my community, who was close to my age, was re-diagnosed with leukemia. Sadly, he lost the battle and his wife was left to raise their two sons with the help of her family and friends. His children are close in age to my daughters, so it hit close to home. The year after he passed away, our local fire department asked his wife to be an honorary guest at the Stair Climb. She and her boys joined us at the event; she was allowed to stand at the finish line as firefighters completed their climb. She was moved by their effort and all of the families that were there to support them. She shared with us that as her husband fought his diagnosis, many times their family had to travel and stay in Seattle for him to receive treatment. Her husband and her family received help from LLS. Knowing that I had raised money over the years and her family received help from LLS encouraged me even more to continue participating in this event.

Q: What advice would you relay to fellow Constellation Brands employees who are thinking about getting involved in giving back efforts?

A: I would advise employees to give it a try. You never know what the outcome will or could be. We never know whose life we may make a difference in; from a kind gesture or as simple as helping at your local food bank. Food banks and similar organizations are always looking for volunteers because they operate primarily from the help of volunteers. Constellation Brands supports and encourages their employees to volunteer for charities and organizations like these.

Q: Why is it important to work for a company that gives back to our communities?

A: It shows that they have a vested interest in the community and that they care enough to give back in a variety of ways to those that live in the community. This means a lot to me.

Learn more about giving back at Constellation here