PORTLAND, Maine — Tommy Hume is a leader among installation crews at Paul White Company. The flooring business works throughout New England and has been for more than 50 years.
Like many Mainers and people around the country, Hume had his fair share of battles growing up.
“I more or less struggled with addiction most of my life," he said Thursday.
He's been working at Paul White Company for nearly five years and without the support from his bosses, he said he didn't know where he would be.
“My job was kind of the glue that kept me together. I lost everything, and I knew I was done and I just wanted to be done but having my job through it all kept me moving forward," Humes added.
Jonathan White and Paul White run the family businesses. Jonathan, the president and chief operating officer, was the first person Hume called when he checked into rehab in California a few years ago.
“[Humes is] a great guy, you know, had some rough patches in his life," Jonathan said in a conference room upstairs from the company's warehouse. “We work with people, we don’t work with machines.”
That mentality is why the company partnered with The Scars Foundation to promote mental health awareness and offer a support system to employees.
“If we can invest a little bit of time and some resources and tools to help people break that cycle and improve their lives then we’re going to continue to look for those opportunities," Paul White said.
The partnership may have been formed recently but the bond between the Whites and the nonprofit started years ago. The band Godsmack was instrumental in establishing the organization with executive director Namoi Fabricant.
Fabricant said the name Scars actually comes from the band's song "Under Your Scars."
Jonathan White has known bass player Robbie Merrill for nearly 20 years and the two still text often. Jonathan said he decided immediately to partner with the cause. Paul White Company employees in Maine are able to "rock" a shirt promoting the partnership at work and at job sites around the state.
"If you care about your employees, they’ll care about you, they’ll care about your customers, and it’s not just profits, it’s not just deadlines. We want people happy, we want their home lives happy and if they’re struggling with things, they’re not happy," Jonathan said.
Because of that commitment to employees' well-being and mental health, Humes said he has been able to turn his life around and help others. He runs the Hillview Sober Living home in Portland and helps more than 20 people deal with their own addiction battles.
“I received a bunch of help and now I dedicate a lot of my time to helping others. Nobody really understands an addict as well as another addict," Humes said.
The White brothers said they receive text messages from employees' wives, girlfriends, and friends thanking them for helping out those closest to them.
“It’s filtering down into family life and creating a better atmosphere for them, so [it's] very, very rewarding," Paul said.
Even during a busy day in the warehouse, you'll find workers smiling, having fun, and of course, wearing the T-shirt promoting mental health awareness.