Pentagon Clean Up Gave ServiceMaster Clean Positive Feeling Of Helping Our Country


Ten years later, the scars still run deep. It was one of the handful of days that has defined our country’s history. When the Twin Towers fell from the horrendous acts committed by religious extremists, much of the innocence in this country toppled with it. Security has become a global issue and the paranoia created has everyone looking over their shoulders.

The tragic events of September 11 also marked an historic moment in the history of ServiceMaster Clean. After a 757 slammed into the side of the Pentagon, ServiceMaster Clean responded in force. At its peak, over 300 ServiceMaster Clean owners, employees and Home Office staff were onsite working to restore the Pentagon.

The Power of Yellow was on full display during this event – the most extensive clean up in the history of the company.

Greg Gandee, owner of ServiceMaster of Alexandria in Alexandria, Va. was one of the first owners on the scene. He got the call while watching TV coverage of the aftermath.

“They said, ‘Greg, they want us over at the Pentagon.’ I said, ‘No problem.’ If that was what we were being requested to do, we'll figure out a way to get it done.”

ServiceMaster Clean employees cleaned everything. They cleaned computers with toothpicks, digging at soot and dirt trapped in keyboards. The crews cleaned 24 hours a day in 12-hour shifts.

“We took light fixtures out and apart and cleaned them,” said Chris Caldwell, former owner of the Paris, Tenn., franchise who supervised cleaning crews.

They even cleaned in areas where classified documents and other sensitive information had to be concealed from workers. In fact, security concerns kept the company from being able to publicly announce the work they were doing.

Over the course of the two months being onsite, ServiceMaster Clean associates got to know the members of the security detail and many Pentagon employees who all knew someone killed.

“We worked in offices that had heavy losses, and they talked about those people and their families,” Caldwell said. “It was as if you knew those people.”

Security for the crews was tight especially since the Pentagon houses the U.S. Department of Defense and had to stay open during the entire process. They had to pass through checkpoints to enter and exit the building and had to be escorted whenever the workers moved around, even for meals and restroom breaks.

All the ServiceMaster Clean workers also underwent federal security clearances that were tightened because of the terrorism threat and because of the high ranking officials who visited the building.

During one visit, President Bush personally commended Caldwell for his crews' work.

ServiceMaster Clean leadership said they feel honored to have been able to serve.

“There was a patriotic feeling and a love of country,” said president Mike Isakson. “That was a time of tremendous hurt but it was a special time because we all came together.”