• Dream Comes True for Lancers’ Superfan

    East Union High School Senior Vinny Torrice has never missed a football game.

    “He’s been the biggest fan of East Union since he was a freshman. Gone to every single game,” Vic Torrice said of his son.

    Win or lose, rain or shine, home or away, Vinny has been supporting the Lancers football team and dreaming of the moment that he might join them on the gridiron.

    Vinny, who has Down syndrome, got his opportunity during the playoff game against Del Campo High School in 2016. Vinny ran a 27-yard touchdown through a sea of blockers to finish the game.

    Players from both teams met Vinny in the end zone to celebrate, and the Lancers’ student section could be heard chanting, “Vinny!” throughout the stadium.

    “I had no clue. I’m still shaking,” Vic Torrice told The Record. “I never dreamt of this for my son.”

    “That kid means a lot to me,” Lancers’ wide receiver Jake Harries told The Record. “He’s really like my brother. I absolutely love him to death. I’ll never let anything happen to him.”

    We at Les Schwab Tire Center are proud of Vinny, the East Union High School body, and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF State). We applaud the sportsmanship shown by both teams, and we’ll continue to support those athletes, coaches, students and supporters who stand for something greater than winning and losing.

  • Former Foster Child Pays it Forward with Luggage Project

    To Mike, the founder of Mikey’s Luggage, every child deserves dignity, regardless of her or his situation. As someone who grew up in foster care, Mike said he always struggled with moving from home to home with his belongings — indeed, his entire life’s possessions — clumsily stuffed into a couple of trash bags.

    “When other schoolmates see that there’s a car with a county official stamp on it and back seat full of trash bags or boxes full of stuff, your peers know what’s going on, and they figure out real quick that you’re a foster child,” Mike said.

    That was one of the most difficult experiences for Mike as a foster child. When he finally landed with the foster family that eventually adopted him, he promised to help other foster kids survive the transitional period. In 2013, he made good on his promise and started Mikey’s Luggage, which helps to replace the garbage bags with brand new luggage that foster children can call their own. Garbage bags are meant for garbage, not for one’s most-prized possessions.

    “If I could grant one wish for foster kids today, it would probably be to give them some dignity, and I think the first place we can start is through luggage,” Mike said. “I think the dignity comes from the normalcy of suitcases, something that is traditionally used by everybody else.”

    Mikey’s Luggage works with Koinonia Family Services, who helps foster children in California and Nevada, to ensure that every suitcase donated goes directly to a foster child. Les Schwab Tire Centers is proud to support Mike’s cause by designating its Sacramento-area locations as drop-off centers for area donations.

    Mike knows the little things can make a big difference for children living in foster care, and the way they collect and move their material lives matters.

    “That’s kind of my rock, you can’t touch it,” he said, reflecting on the importance of his own bag as a child. “It’s the one thing you can’t take from me. That’s why I started Mikey’s Luggage.”

    To contribute a new suitcase or duffle bag to a foster child, simply swing by one of the Sacramento-area Les Schwab stores and let the on-duty manager know it’s for Mikey’s Luggage.

  • Center for Hearing Loss Helps Youth Gain Language Skills, More

    For families like the Longshores, who have two children with hearing impairments, enlisting the right help can be a real challenge.

    “Our second child, Brooklyn, was born with hearing loss that progressively worsened to the point that she was deaf by age 1,” said Ashley Longshore. “We desperately wanted to get her sufficient support to allow her (auditory) verbal skills to catch up to other kids her age without hearing loss.”

    The family began researching auditory-verbal development schools, which led them to the Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking Center (CCHAT) in Sacramento, Calif. The school focuses on speech and language development for hearing-impaired youth up to third grade in a one-on-one format. The school’s early intervention services and educational programs provide invaluable support for children and families throughout Northern California, regardless of socioeconomic status.

    Brooklyn, who is now 6 years old, has made the most of the center.

    “We could never have imagined that Brooklyn’s speech and auditory-verbal skills would have progressed so quickly,” Ashley said. “Brooklyn loves school, is very proud of her cochlear implants and her ability to communicate with them, and is loving life like any other 5-year-old.”

    Our Sacramento-area Les Schwab team is proud to support the CCHAT Center and the families who depend on its services. “Mitch Harrison and his team everyone at Les Schwab have been so kind to help CCHAT out with multiple events, attending programs and fundraisers and allowing CCHAT to decorate their tire tree at Christmastime,” said Ashley.

    To learn more about the CCHAT Center, or to volunteer, visit the school’s official website. To follow along with the school’s latest news, be sure to like their Facebook page.

  • 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 truck with Christmas decorations

    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!

  • Band Plays for Les Schwab’s Tireless Teacher

    For students at Antelope High School, in Antelope, Calif., every pep rally and sporting event serves as a reminder of their band director Ritchey Hodge. Hodge wrote the school’s official fight song, which the band performs at school events. Hodge’s many talents, including the example he sets for student leaders as a performer and songwriter, have won him 2016’s Les Schwab Tireless Teacher Award.

    The recognition is thanks to his band students, who wrote one-page essays about the teacher they believe best represents positive culture on campus. The Tireless Teacher Award recognizes outstanding teachers who have a positive effect on students. Students nominate a teacher they believe most deserves the award.

    We at Les Schwab Tire Centers are proud to celebrate Hodge and teachers like him, who go above and beyond the call of duty with hopes of inspiring our future leaders. Thank you, Hodge, for being a superior role model for the Antelope High student body.

  • 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 MillangLauren 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.

  • Les Schwab Stores’ Generosity Makes Field Trip Possible

    Field trips are valuable to teachers and students.

    “As a teacher, if I get to see them experience what they are learning, that is the most rewarding part of my job,” said Christine Donley, August Knodt Elementary school teacher.

    The good news: the school’s fourth-grade class had plans to visit Sacramento as part of their coursework on California history. All 75 students anticipated taking the bus to visit Sutter’s Fort, the California State Indian Museum and the California State Capitol. The bad news: this was going to cost $1,400 the Stockton, Calif., school didn’t have.

    Then the managers of the Lodi and Stockton, Calif., Les Schwab stores stepped up. Gary Holm, Matt Buchmann and John Burgess donated the funds and the field trip was back on schedule.

    “When I told the kids we were finally able to go, they were ecstatic! Les Schwab made this trip possible,” said Donley.

    The Lodi and Stockton communities have been supportive of Les Schwab over the years and the store managers were honored to repay just a little bit of that back and help encourage students’ love of learning and to celebrate California’s history.