Season of Sharing Is Upon Us
It is the most wonderful time of the year to be grateful for what we have and to share it with our community. Les Schwab Tire Centers are hosting food, toy and bike drives and more to help those in their communities in need.
Kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving fundraiser, the Sacramento-area Les Schwab stores got behind this year’s 10th annual Yuba-Sutter-Colusa United Way Turkey Drive. The stores served as collection sites for the $20 donations that bought turkeys, hams and holiday dinner fixings for families in the area. These donations were then shared with nearly 20 local nonprofit organizations who then distributed meals to local families.
Toy drives have been a fixture in Les Schwab’s community giving: In California’s Central Valley, 20 stores are participating in the third annual Fox 26 Les Schwab Tires Toy Drive. Store managers have set up appealing displays to encourage patrons to bring in new, unwrapped toys for children. Les Schwab Tire Centers are proud to work with local nonprofit Poverello House. Other nonprofits throughout the Central Valley can sign up at the Poverello House website to be among those organizations that benefit from these donations.
Meanwhile, nearby Les Schwab stores are tuning up their fleet of trucks for the 10-mile Parade of Toys that will deliver donations to the Sierra Vista Mall, in Clovis, Calif., on Dec. 15. In 2015, Les Schwab delivered 30 truckloads, which were distributed to participating charities.
Les Schwab stores in Sacramento and Rancho Cordova, Calif., have their bike pedals to the metal participating in the CHiPS for Kids annual drive to raise funds and donate bicycles. Volunteers from the California Highway Patrol - Valley Division and other local organizations have already assembled the bikes and are anxiously awaiting the donation drop-off at the Cal Expo on Dec. 9.
In 2015, approximately 1,000 bikes were donated to area children. Keep an eye out for Les Schwab trucks and the California Highway Patrol, which will again transport the bikes and escort the caravan.
In Utah, where cold winters are a sure thing, having a warm coat is essential. To help those in need to stay warm, the North and South Logan Les Schwab stores have teamed up for the third year with the United Way of Cache Valley for the Warm Coat Drive, which benefits multiple Cache Valley charities. Customers can donate gently used coats, gloves and hats through Dec. 31 at both stores and the Cache County Sheriff’s Office.
The Logan Les Schwab stores have also partnered up with the Cache County’s Sub for Santa annual toy drive. Leslie Canada, director and participant for 30 years, is thrilled to have Les Schwab’s help. In honor of the inaugural year, the Logan stores will give coupons for free tire rotations and free pre-trip safety checks to everyone who donates a toy.
Thank you to everyone who has come by one of our stores to keep this wonderful time of the year alive in many hearts. Happy holidays to all!
Three Generations and Counting
Christy Davidson has worked at Les Schwab Tire Centers for seven years, but it feels like a lot longer. She is the third generation in her family to work for the company, going back to her dad, Jeff James; and before him, her grandpa, Gary Brown. Christy is extremely proud to be a part of Les Schwab: “You could say it’s in my blood.”
Christy’s grandfather started the Les Schwab family tradition in 1973 in Lakeview, Oregon. When he retired in 1997, after more than 20 years of service, he called Les “the finest businessman” he had ever met. As he recalled his career, Gary said, “It was not light work, but as time went on, I could see and believe that everything Les said and promised could be taken to the bank.” When asked what college he attended, Gary used to reply, “I went to LSU - Les Schwab University.”
When his son-in-law Jeff, Christy’s father, needed a job, Gary knew what to do. He made a few phone calls and got him an interview with Don Miller in Eugene, Oregon, in 1983, and soon the family was moving to Eugene. Jeff is currently the manager of the Florence, Oregon, store. After working for the company for more than 30 years, he and Christy’s mother are now planning their upcoming retirement.
Coincidentally, like her dad, Christy started at the Eugene store, and she now works at the Springfield store where her father was the assistant manager for 11 years. Christy’s little brother Jason James recently joined the family tradition, too, in Springfield.
Christy affectionately calls herself a Les Schwab brat. “We moved around from store to store as Dad moved up in the company. Les Schwab has always been a part of my life. I am so proud to work for this company. I knew it would be great.”
Les Schwab is a family-owned business, and being an employee means you are one of the family. We understand that if we ask a lot of people, we need to give a lot in return. If you are interested in joining us, you can apply at jobs.lesschwab.com.
Through 4-H, Family Forges Bond with Community, Each Other
Jeff and Donna Wiechman have been involved with their local 4-H Club in Jefferson County, Colorado, for nearly 40 years. Jeff Wiechman was a 4-H member as a child, and the couple’s three daughters have all participated over the years.
“So many adults gave their time to support, encourage and teach our kids, and we wanted to do the same for others,” Jeff said.
Today, the Wiechmans repay that support by donating their time and expertise to the next generation. 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization, empowering nearly 6 million young people with a consistent focus on cultivating leadership skills. Its programs allow children to perform hands-on projects in agriculture, science and citizenship, all while receiving guidance from adult mentors.
For the Wiechmans, helping to foster deep relationships — both with each other and the greater community — is the most rewarding. Their two oldest girls have both spent countless hours teaching their youngest to clip, sheer and show her animals, and have gone to new members’ homes to help them learn the same.
It was through Jefferson County’s 4-H programs that the Wiechmans were first introduced to the Les Schwab family, specifically local employees Chris Wiggins and Josh Bryant.
“Probably the most incredible part of this program is watching business people like Chris and Josh, at Les Schwab, interact with our girls and help support their 4-H and college dreams at the livestock auction,” Donna Wiechman said. “This leaves us speechless every year.”
“We believe this program helps these kids grow in responsibility, work ethic and business skills,” Jeff said. “The organization is such an example of generosity for this next generation that we believe it will be passed on for generations to come.”
Throughout the West, Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud supporter of 4-H Club and its educational programs. For more information, or to get involved with the 4-H near you, visit the official 4-H website.
Youth Ag Leader Grows Career With FFA Role
As a third generation Future Farmers of America (FFA) member, Lauren Millang brought a family legacy to her role as vice president of the FFA’s California chapter. “I can recall my grandpa telling me about the different contests he competed in during high school and hearing about my parent’s fair animals,” she said. “I’m proud to be part of an organization that is rooted in tradition.”
Lauren spent a year traveling throughout California facilitating FFA workshops, hosting conferences and learning about the agriculture industry. Over the four years that Lauren was involved with FFA, she found the experience invaluable in developing her agricultural knowledge and her leadership skills.
“I was blessed with opportunities to attend leadership conferences, compete on numerous teams, hold officer positions and even raise animals for our county fair,” she said. “I know these valuable moments spent in FFA have prepared me for a future career in agriculture and have provided me with the tools and experiences I need to become a successful advocate for the industry.”
Some of Lauren’s most memorable FFA experiences include the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., as well as competing at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Show in Oklahoma and the FFA Nationals in Kentucky.
Lauren says the FFA offers a place for just about everyone who’s interested in agriculture. “From computer sciences, to raising livestock, crop sciences or speaking contests, students can truly find their niche and excel,” she said. “FFA is a unique organization that truly gives students a hands-on experience.”
With her move into the VP role, Lauren graduated from a corduroy members jacket that said “Woodland-Pioneer” across the back to a one that says, “Association.” “With this new jacket comes new opportunities, friendships, places and growth,” she said. “Only one word comes to mind when I think of the journey ahead: gratitude.”
Following her year as California FFA state vice president, Lauren is attending Oklahoma State University to pursue a double major in agricultural communications and business. “I am proud to be involved in an organization that creates the future leaders of the agriculture industry,” she said. “And I am proud to be a future agriculturalist.”
At Les Schwab, we’re honored to support Lauren's hard work, dedication and leadership both in California’s agriculture industry and its local communities.
Military Dawgs, Dogs Bond Over Barbecues
Vietnam War veteran and former military dog handler Frank Wehner understands the bond between servicemembers and their animals. “Once you’re a K-9 handler, you never forget your dogs and your time behind the leash,” Wehner said.
Dogs are commonly called man’s best friend, but Wehner says for our servicemen and — women they are much more. “Military dog handlers and their K-9 partners have been responsible for saving countless lives of our ground troops and safeguarding our military installations around the world,” Wehner said.
To show his appreciation for members of the military and their canine helpers, Wehner leads the Northwest Dawgs Project. The project travels throughout the Western United States providing steak barbecues to active military working dog handlers and their families. In 2017, Wehner and the Northwest Dawgs team will serve more than 400 steaks to K-9 handlers and their families, veterinarians, vet technicians and command staff over the course of several events.
The project hosts barbecues throughout Utah, Idaho, Washington and Nevada at military bases, including Hill Air Force Base (AFB), Mountain Home AFB, Fairchild AFB, Naval Air Station Fallon, Naval Base Kitsap and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Les Schwab Tire Centers is honored to help the Northwest Dawgs Project serve the K-9 unit at Hill AFB in Utah.