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. To learn more about the Northwest Dawgs Project or to get involved as a volunteer, "like" their Facebook page or visit their official website.
As vice president of the Future Farmers of America California chapter, Lauren enjoys deepening her knowledge of the agriculture industry and developing leadership skills.
In Medford, Oregon, George Myers was able to get a standing wheelchair thanks to donations from the Action Mobility Foundation, Les Schwab Tire Centers and GoFundMe contributors.
Les Schwab helps Freewheel Project B.A.R.S. participants choose healthy life choices, become better skaters.
Les Schwab helps Northwest Dawgs Project serve K-9 unit at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
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.