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Company helps with Greensburg's computers

7/17/2007

By MIKE HAMMETT

Hays Daily News

The city of Greensburg's computer systems are up and running, thanks to a group from Sun Microsystems.

Dorthy Chikly, who works for Sun from her home in Overbrook, watched the numerous news reports on the devastation in Greensburg following the May 4 tornado that ripped through the town.

"Once I heard about the tornado in Greensburg, I wanted to reach out to the community," Chikly said.

Chikly said she could have donated money or worked with her community PRIDE program to clean up Greensburg. Instead, she chose to start rebuilding the government with Sun.

"I could help to rebuild the local government that reaches hundreds and thousands more than I could have as an individual," Chikly said.

Chikly traveled to Greensburg on May 16 to get a look at the damage and to see what it would take for Sun to get the government up and running again. After her initial assessment, Chikly met with other interested co-workers two to three times a week to begin getting various parts and programs together for Greensburg.

On June 18, Chikly and two Sun teams from Kansas City and Denver arrived in Greensburg. Chikly said it was a new experience for all of those involved from Sun.

"It was totally unique," Chikly said. "We had account executives and upper level management that were pulling cables. The people that were there on site volunteering their time, this isn't their day-to-day job. To be there and hands on and seeing the people that were living it, it was a whole different feel.

"We were on site 24/7, making changes to the schematics, customizing it, and doing quality checks and really helping them tie all of their systems together," Chikly said. "We were really keen on giving them flexibility and systems that will work better for them."

Chikly said the entire group was stunned by the amount of destruction.

"You see the pictures on the news, and you read the articles," Chikly said. "You're still not prepared for that level of devastation. It's mind boggling to understand how are they going to start, where are they going to start."

Chikly said that the company always has urged volunteer work from its employees, which is one of the reasons it allows employees to work from wherever they are located.

"It is a core value of Sun to do volunteer work," she said. "We had a lot of interest. We had a core team that really worked. For each individual that worked with the core team, they had co-workers that backed them up so they could work on this project."

Reporter Mike Hammett can be reached at (785) 628-1081, Ext. 139, or by e-mail at mhammett@dailynews.net.