Tucked behind Ameristar Casino is one of East Chicago’s finest little locations, Jeorse Park Beach. Unfortunately, like all beaches, it is not immune to litter and wear and tear. ArcelorMittal, headquartered not five minutes away, converged on the location for their Annual Volunteer Beach Cleanup.
ArcelorMittal carries a long history of philanthropy and volunteerism, but their annual beach cleanups are particularly noteworthy for the steel manufacturer. Lake Michigan is one of the company’s most valuable resources, according to Kelly Nissan, Communication & Corporate Responsibility Manager for ArcelorMittal, it only makes sense for them to play a part in keeping the lake and its beaches beautiful.
“You can’t make steel without an awful lot of water, so we want to make sure we’re protecting the water sources that we use,” Nissan said. “This is a way that we can give back and play a part in preserving the entire ecosystem here around Lake Michigan.”
The location for the cleanup shifts each year with last year’s taking place in Hammond. Some longtime ArcelorMittal employees, such as Jon Giusto, were excited to see the cleanup move right into their neighborhood. Giusto is an avid attendee at the company’s volunteer events and came to the park already wearing his bright orange ArcelorMittal Volunteer shirt.
“It’s always nice to give back to the community and this is right in our backyard,” he said. “I’ve even used this beach as a place to visit during my lunches. Places like this are very important.”
Giusto and other volunteers walked the beach, collecting litter and debris scattered through the sands and grass. Others took up paint brushes and gave the park’s information kiosks a fresh new look. For an employee like Corey Gibson, who has been with ArcelorMittal for a little over a year, seeing his company get involved locally is refreshing.
“It’s important for the community, but it’s also important to me since I live so close to here,” Gibson said. “I live just 10 minutes away from here and will visit on my days off. It’s just a nice, safe place to spend time and I’m glad to be out here helping out in this beautiful weather.”
While volunteers like Giusto and Gibson are full-time employees, it is tradition for many of ArcelorMittal’s interns to take part in the beach cleanup. Some are totally new to the Region, coming from Colorado or Southern Indiana. The event gave them the chance to take a step into the community in a fun, philanthropic way.
“It’s exciting to give back to the community like this, the lake is such a huge resource for our industry,” said Brianna Armes, an intern who hails from Southern Indiana. “It’s such a great area. I’d like to live here in the future, so I want to contribute.”
To learn more about ArcelorMittal USA and how they aim to create a more sustainable community, visit usa.arcelormittal.com.