• Les Schwab Proudly Contributes to the Pride of Salt Lake City

    Next month marks the two-year anniversary of the opening of the African Savanna exhibit at Utah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, sponsored by Les Schwab Tire Centers. There are two sections: The Grasslands are home to the zoo’s African hoof stock and birds, including ostriches and Hartmann’s mountain zebras, and Lion’s Hill is home to the first lions to live at the zoo in over a decade. Les Schwab is thrilled to support the local community with this exhibit, part of what attracts thousands of families every year to Hogle Zoo.

    Children admiring Hogle Zoo’s lions up close through glass
    (Hogle Zoo Photo)

    It didn’t take long for the wildlife in both sections to start families of their own! In January, the zoo’s second-oldest female giraffe, Pogo, gave birth to a female giraffe named Willow. Riley, the zoo’s only male giraffe, is the father. Willow was the 17th giraffe born at the Hogle Zoo and the first birth at the exhibit.

    Lion’s Hill started off with four lions: two brothers, Baron and Vulcan, who came to Hogle from Birmingham Zoo in Alabama, and two sisters, Sela and Nobu, who came from Woodland Park Zoo in Washington.

    This February, Nobu gave birth to three lion cubs— — two males and a female— — fathered by Baron. They were the first lions born at the zoo in 27 years. The cubs spent time with their mother for several weeks before being introduced to the rest of the family: first to Aunt Sela, then to their father and Uncle Vulcan. This process takes several weeks of careful observation and attention by keepers and animal care staff. According to Valerie Schubert, primary lion keeper, Nobu is a wonderful first-time mother; extremely affectionate toward and protective of her cubs. Zoo guests will be able to see the full pride this month when Brutus, Titus, and Calliope make their debut.

    Trainer working with a lion at Hogle Zoo
    Trainer working with a lion at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. (Hogle Zoo Photo)

    Les Schwab’s sponsorship makes possible a demonstration area where zoo visitors can sit only a dozen feet away as the four adult African lions work with their trainers. Several times a day, the zookeepers encourage the lions to perform tasks on command, such as displaying their paws or opening their jaws, for which they are rewarded with treats. These tasks keep the lions mentally agile and prepare them for times when their keepers tend to their health.

    The zoo is about to open another long-awaited Les Schwab-sponsored attraction, Creekside, and this one is designed for children: an immersive and interactive playground suited to kids of all abilities. Landscaped to fit with the surrounding environment, the park features all the usual equipment plus a rock climbing wall, because youngsters of all species like to play and explore!

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  • 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.

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  • Nonprofit Helps Vets ‘Continue Mission’ in Civilian Life

    Sgt. Josh Hansen and his wife, Melissa, founded the organization, Continue Mission, to help veterans returning from war transition to happy, healthy civilian lives.

    “‘Continue mission’ is something we say in the Army,” said Josh, of Salt Lake City, Utah. “Veterans know the expression as ‘Charlie Mike.’ We want to ‘Charlie Mike’ in healing and in life.”

    For Josh, who joined the Marine Corps following Sept. 11, the cause is personal. After being wounded during his tour in Iraq in 2007, he found his own transition back into civilian life more difficult than expected. Recognizing that this difficulty was experienced by many other service members, he was compelled to do make a difference.

    “Let’s heal, and let’s live life to the fullest for those we lost in the war,” said Josh, a Utah native and current resident. “We need to honor them and continue on by supporting each other.”

    Today, Continue Mission paves the way toward physical and mental health, and wellness for veterans by organizing recreational events — such as mountain biking, disc golf and skiing as well as community service projects that allow veterans to volunteer at local schools, churches and other civic institutions. It also offers resources and referrals for mental health support, suicide prevention, recreational therapy, employment services and education.

    We here at Les Schwab Tire Centers are inspired by the work of the Hansens, all of the active and retired service members participating in Continue Mission and the work they’re doing throughout Utah. It’s an honor to support their ongoing activities as an official sponsor of this amazing organization.

    To learn more, or to get involved as a volunteer, check out the Continue Mission website, and like its official Facebook page.

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  • Utah’s Hogle Zoo Welcomes Polar Bears

    After much anticipation, Utah’s Hogle Zoo recently welcomed two young polar bears, Nora and Hope. Les Schwab Tire Centers is a proud presenting sponsor of their new home and habitat exhibit.

    At six days old, Nora was abandoned by her mother, so the zookeepers at Ohio’s Columbus Zoo decided to hand-rear the small bear. Without the companionship of another polar bear, Nora was unable to develop important social skills. In 2016, Nora was transferred to the Oregon Zoo to live with an elder polar bear, Tasul. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, Tasul died from ovarian cancer, leaving Nora alone again. In coordination with experts at the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the Oregon Zoo decided to pair Nora with a similarly aged polar bear at Hogle Zoo

    Hope, only a month older than Nora, was nearly 200 pounds heavier. Even though she was born at Ohio’s Toledo Zoo, the AZA recommended pairing the young bears together. The Hogle Zoo, with nearly 60 years of experience caring for polar bears, had available habitat. It’s been the ideal home for Hope and Nora, who seem happy to be roommates. Nora is thriving with the much-needed socialization she has gained from Hope’s friendship.

    Hope visits a young guest at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

    Les Schwab’s sponsorship funds the Hogle Zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat, which includes a specially designed facility for the study and conservation of polar bears. The zoo is a leader in conservation and allocates funding and resources toward saving polar bears and five other species.

    We’re proud that our partnership provides a safe, enriching environment for these animals and a way for the community to connect with and learn about them in meaningful ways.

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