Myrna Rodriguez says she remembers the day her 10-minute commute home from her job at KPMG's District office took three hours.
She also remembers after 24 hours of no communication with her husband, who was serving in a NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, finally hearing him say over the phone: “I knew you would be okay.” Now 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001, Rodriguez last week stood with 60 of her co-workers at a wreath-laying ceremony on the grounds of the Pentagon Memorial that the company raised $100,000 to help fund.
“Our presence here today is just one way we’re trying to give back to the community as part of our service in remembrance activities,” said Candy Duncan, managing partner for the firm’s Washington region.
Elsewhere in the region, as part of their campaign to commemorate the people who perished in the attacks, KPMG employees delivered gift cards, clothing and toiletries to the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warriors Transition Unit and Medical Group’s Aeromedical Staging Facility. They also delivered school supplies to youth in need at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Child Development Center and Ketcham Elementary School in Southeast Washington.
In the years following the attacks, KPMG began to increase its giving to the military community. Rodriguez, a senior administrative assistant with the company, planned military appreciation luncheons and holiday dinners for military families in the company.
In 2006, when asked by the community outreach director to find a charity for the company to support, she went online and began her search.
“I did a lot of research and it brought me back here,” said Rodriguez. “It’s the heart of our military.”
She immediately formed a committee and began raising money for the Pentagon Memorial Fund. Raffles, T-shirt sales, cake sales and jeans days provided individual donations that the KPMG’s foundation matched. The first year the company raised $37,000.
Since then the company has made annual donations to the memorial. Other sponsors include the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, BAE Systems, Balfour Beatty Construction, Delta Resources, CSC and Fairfax County.
Pentagon Memorial Fund President James Laychak, whose brother died in the attacks at the Pentagon, said they are looking to raise additional funds for an educational resource center.
“There’s a lot of great causes out there and we had to raise a lot of money in a short period of time and not everyone says yes but that’s the nature of fundraising,” said Laychak. “That’s why you’ve got to keep going out there and keep asking people.”