As a family-owned, local business, Steinhafels is always excited to partner with fellow locals – whether it be non-profits, other businesses, and yes… bloggers!
Today we introduce you to our new guest blogger, Annie, the creator of the blog “DIY Decor Mom: DIYing Between Diaper Changes.”
Annie is a 30-year-old mom of three, who along with her husband, is working on completely renovating their builder-grade 1980’s home into the home of their dreams. She explains, “Our life is crazy but wonderful. I love sharing motherhood hacks and decorating tips for creating a beautiful life and home.”
We actually met Annie through our other fabulous guest blogger, Meg at Green with Decor (us bloggers stick together!)
We met with Annie recently at our Kenosha store, where she picked up her Clarity Sofa Table. It was awesome to meet her three adorable kids.
You can check out Annie’s #sponsored blog post about that Clarity Sofa Table HERE. She has some great tips for styling a console table. Who knew a simple console table could be so functional and stylish at the same time?!
Partnering with talented lifestyle writers like Meg and Annie has been great, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with for future posts.
At Steinhafels, we value all of our community partnerships. After all, at the end of the day, our surrounding communities are what make our stores so special.
Today, we invite you to learn more about our ongoing partnership with Best Buddies Wisconsin. Steinhafels is proud to sponsor six local high school chapters. Best Buddies works to promote friendship and inclusion for people of all abilities.
We could TELL you about all the cool things those chapters have been up to, but it’s way cooler for you to SEE IT in action! Check out this short video to learn a little more about Best Buddies, and why local students are so excited to be a part of this amazing program.
The six schools Steinhafels sponsors are Brookfield Central, Grafton, Nicolet, Bay View, Menomonee Falls, and Tosa West High Schools. This sponsorship allows each school’s Chapter President to go to Leadership Conference in July.
Each school was carefully selected to provide the greatest opportunity for our stores in each of those communities to interact and engage with the sponsor schools.
We’ve already introduced you to Alexandria, the Wisconsin Rapids woman who won $17,500 in cash and prizes on Wheel of Fortune – after taking part in the Wheelmobile at our Oak Creek Steinhafels this past fall. Wheel of Fortune is currently in its 35th season, and we’re so excited to be part of the action!
UPDATE: This Thursday Night, Matt Pitton of Whitefish Bay won big on the national stage! Matt won $48,850 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Costa Rica, which should help with his upcoming nuptials! Matt is a physical therapist and a huge college basketball fan – always rooting for his alma mater, Marquette University. Matt says he’s been watching America’s Game® for the majority of his life.
(photo: Carol Kaelson)
Besides Matt and Alexandria, there are several other local contestants who made it all the way to Los Angeles to compete with Vanna and Pat on the big wheel in the last few weeks.
Eric and Kari are a couple from Racine.
Lynelle lives in Waunakee, just north of Madison.
Check out this video highlighting these big winners, and some of our favorite moments from the Steinhafels and CBS 58 Wheelmobile event:
Wheel Winners Kari and Lynelle took the time to answer some questions about the “Wheel of Fortune Experience.” It’s fun to see how their wheel journeys differ, and to learn a little more about what inspired them to throw caution to the wind and try out. One of the women didn’t even plan on attending Wheelmobile, and another sees her whirlwind win as just another sign that we all need to live life to the fullest – following a scary family illness.
Read on for their inspiring stories!!!
STEINHAFELS: First off, tell me briefly about yourself, and if you are a big Wheel fan.
LYNELLE: I was born in the Philippines and my family moved to Green Bay when I was 5 years old. I grew up in Green Bay, about a mile from Lambeau Field, but have never been to a Packers game! I currently live in Waunakee. I’ve been married to my husband Torben for 21 years, and have two smart and beautiful daughters. I am a part time para-educator at Waunakee High School – I supervise Junior/Senior study halls. In my free time, I Crossfit and volunteer for the Philippine-American Association of Madison and Neighboring Areas (PAMANA). I have watched Wheel of Fortune since I was young girl. It was always fun to try to solve the puzzles, but I never thought I would get on the show.
KARI: Eric is from Racine and I’m from Belgium, WI. We were married two years ago and have a six month old son named Magnus. I am currently a stay-at-home mom and Eric works in Sales. We have both watched Wheel of Fortune since we can remember. I recall even as a very young girl having it on TV. Eric’s first crush as a young boy was Vanna White! We watch the show now as a couple whenever we can. We enjoy trying to solve the puzzles before the contestants.
STEINHAFELS: What made you come out to the auditions at Steinhafels Oak Creek?
LYNELLE: I receive emails from the Wheel Watchers Club. In October 2017, I received an email saying that the Wheelmobile was coming to Oak Creek Steinhafels, and they were looking for contestants. They said that was the first time in 10 years they would be in the area. My family strongly encouraged I go, but I only wanted to go if my husband drove. I hate driving long distances, especially at night. On the day of the Friday, Oct. 27th Wheelmobile event, my husband was too busy at work to be able to leave at noon as planned. I told my younger daughter Ebba, who was coming with, that I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to drive home from Oak Creek at night. She strongly urged that we still go and reassured it would be OK driving back at night since she would be with me. After some thought, we ventured to Oak Creek. We allowed plenty of time to drive there in case of traffic. We arrived at 1:30 and found four other women waiting in line already. It was nice that it was at Steinhafels because we had couches to sit on while waiting!
KARI: We had heard about the Wheelmobile being so close in Oak Creek and decided last minute to attend. We thought it would be an amazing opportunity, although unlikely we would get picked. We went in blind, not knowing what the process was going to entail. It was very fun and the hosts really tried to energize the crowd and keep it high-energy. When Eric’s name was pulled from the drum, I was just shocked. It was totally random out of hundreds of applications.
STEINHAFELS: When did you find out you got on the big show? What was your reaction?
LYNELLE: A few days after the Wheelmobile event in Oak Creek, I got an email inviting me to the second auditions in downtown Milwaukee, which was scheduled for a few weeks later. At that audition, we played quick versions of the game, but this time they called your name, you stood up enthusiastically, smiled and called out some letters. I only called out two letters. Next, we took a written test, which consisted of partially filled in puzzles. We had to solve as many as we could in five minutes. I may have completed half of them. After the coordinators reviewed the tests and did some consulting, they came back in the room and asked some contestants to stay. I was not one of them and the rest of us went home. We were told that if we got on the show, we would get a letter in exactly two weeks. Well, that same evening, I got a call, but since I didn’t recognize the number, I didn’t answer it. They immediately called back and my husband told me to answer it, just in case it was Wheel of Fortune. So I answered the phone call and it was! They told me that my auditions were great and they wanted me in Los Angeles on December 1st to be on the show. I was ecstatic!
KARI: The second audition was intense, lots of playing a mock version of the ‘Wheel,’ taking a quiz on our puzzle skills, sharing about ourselves with the group, etc. We spent about four hours at the audition and had a lot of fun. We thought we did well and let our personalities shine. They commented on our great teamwork while playing the game. It was just a matter of waiting to see if we got into the contestant pool. Well, the waiting wasn’t long. We received a call that evening asking us to be in L.A. in 13 days! I think I squealed when Eric got off the phone. I heard his conversation and knew he was talking to the ‘Wheel’ folks. We were beyond excited and booked our flights that night.
STEINHAFELS: What was the show-taping process like? What were Pat and Vanna like? Were you nervous?
LYNELLE: The day of the taping, 20 contestants arrived at the studio at 7:45 a.m. (18 guaranteed on the show and 2 were alternates from the LA area). They were taping 6 shows that day. Immediately in the morning, we signed legal paperwork, mostly saying that we were not to let anyone know of the outcome of the show. After that, we had rehearsals. We got to be on the game platform and practiced spinning the wheel and calling out letters. We also did a promo video for our local station. The contestant coordinators were so helpful that day! They told us everything we needed to know. They really made it comfortable for us to play the game.
Pat and Vanna were really nice, pretty chill people. Pat really knows his stuff. He knows exactly what to say during the show, like when he makes his small comments during the game. He is pretty smooth. They are in person what they portray on TV. I was fortunate I got to chat with them at the end of the show.
STEINHAFELS: Tell me how the show went down… were you nervous at all?
KARI:By the time the show was about to start, I was so nervous. We both promised each other to just have fun no matter the outcome, although we said we were going to win.
We had studied a bit about letter frequency and some other game strategy so we had our ‘game-plan’ per say. We planned to rotate spinning the wheel but after the practice spin, I popped a blood vessel in my finger and was all swollen. This happened right before we were on so that’s why Eric spun every time. He did well I might add!
STEINHAFELS: Were the puzzles hard? How is being ON the show different than solving puzzles at home?
LYNELLE: The puzzles on the show didn’t seem too hard, after the fact. I played on the Wheel of Fortune app for 2-3 hours a day for two weeks before being on the show. I played on the app to help me strategize and try to solve the puzzles with minimal letters. I practiced a lot with the bonus round puzzles, to see what additional letters I should call. The puzzles in the app seemed harder.
Being on the show is much more difficult than playing at home. There were so many things to remember – such as smile, clap, be clear on your letter calling, focus on solving the puzzle, look at the used letter board, etc. What was comforting is that, between each puzzle, we stepped down, took a breather and met with the contestant coordinators. They gave us water and advice, fanned us (because it was hot), and the makeup person powdered us. The contestant coordinators really did help us in so many ways that day of the show! STEINHAFELS: Lynelle, you won it ALL, correct? What was that like? What was your final puzzle?
LYNELLE: Yes I won it all. I’ve watched my show many times already! I recently realized that I solved 5 of the 8 puzzles in the main game and also solved the bonus round puzzle which was ‘Family Physician.’ During the taping of the show, I didn’t realize I had solved that many puzzles!! I took it round by round. I didn’t know that Rei, the other female contestant, hit so many bankrupts – I was so lucky with that. I was just focused on solving the puzzles and didn’t really pay attention to much except for when Pat told me it was my turn. I was in a zone.
STEINHAFELS: What were your total winnings? Have you been to St. Lucia before?
LYNELLE: My total winnings were $60,300 in cash and prizes. $50,800 in cash and $9,500 is the value of the St. Lucia trip. I’ve never been to St. Lucia before but had been to Aruba. I love the Caribbean and we are excited to bring our kids with us.
STEINHAFELS: Kari, this must be such a whirlwind for you and Eric. Besides the trip to Hawaii, any plans for what you’d like to do with your winnings?
KARI: What a fun, whirlwind of a time. We can’t wait to go to Hawaii to create even more memories as a family. It was really surreal and truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All of the staff – Pat, Vanna, everyone along the way, were amazing and great to work with. We were very surprised to get asked to be on Wheel of Fortune and to have been blessed with this opportunity and our winnings. In a way we are not surprised at the unraveling of events. We tend to live life in the fast-lane so this is very typical of us. Eric had a very serious brain injury at the end of 2016. That accident really has changed our outlook on life and motivates us to live a life of spontaneity, adventure, and fun! Trying out for Wheel of Fortune was just that.
STEINHAFELS: Lynelle, any other big plans for what you’d like to do with your winnings?
LYNELLE: When I won the bonus round and saw the $35,000, the first thing that popped in my head was, ‘Yes – College tuition! Seriously!’ Majority of the winnings will go to college tuition/funds and house maintenance/landscaping. We are going to let our younger daughter pick out the tile for our kitchen backsplash. She’s a big HGTV fan! STEINHAFELS: What was it like watching yourselves on TV?
KARI: It was entertaining to watch the show with family when it aired. Only a few knew we were going to be on the show, and nobody knew the outcome which made it so fun to witness their true reactions. It was so hard to keep it a secret for the six weeks between filming it and the show airing. Our friends and family were so happy for us. We felt privileged to represent Wisconsin and our town, Racine, in a positive way.
STEINHAFELS: Final question – are you going to check out a Steinhafels store again sometime?
LYNELLE: Well, I would love some new furniture! I think that after reading about both of these women’s journeys, most of us can agree that life is short, and we need to take a leap of faith sometimes. Congrats Lynelle, Kari, and Eric – you showed the nation how awesome Wisconsinites are, and made us proud.
Have a fabulous time on your trips to much warmer climates, and stay in touch.
And good luck to Matt on Thursday! Let’s get another big win for a Wisconsinite!
Here at Steinhafels, our mission is to help customers create the homes of their dreams.
In recent years, we’ve been looking at ways to expand that mission into our local communities. One of those partnerships has been with the Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee. As long-time members of the Milwaukee business and entertainment communities, it really is a perfect match. The Pabst is known for creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for its performers as they prepare backstage, and Steinhafels helps customers create that same feeling in their homes.
It all started a little more than a year ago, when we worked with the backstage staff of the Pabst on a full-scale remodel project. Our designer worked to keep the character of the space, with some comfy, modern touches. Everyone loved the results, and we’ve heard that performers have complimented that new space many times since the redesign.
In addition, we’ve partnered with the Pabst on several contests and other fun, social media driven events over the past couple years. It’s been a great way for Steinhafels to get more involved in the local entertainment community, and for both businesses to spread their messages to new audiences.
However, since interior design is the backbone to this relationship, we thought it was time to get another design project going! This time – Turner Hall Ballroom on 4th Street. The Ballroom is located within Turner Hall, a National Historic Landmark. The Ballroom has a rustic, lofty feel, and is the perfect backdrop to an eclectic mix of shows.
The Pabst Theater Group approached us, mentioning the Turner Hall Dressing Room needs some love. That’s when we employed the talents of our Decorating Solutions Interior Designer Jenii Kluver. Jenii loves music, and has an edgy, eclectic style – perfect for this project.
We started with a tour of Turner Hall’s backstage area, followed by Jenii’s design presentation at our Oak Creek store. Check out the Video Blog:
((Keep Reading Below))
TURNER HALL WALKTHROUGH
Any design project requires an initial walkthrough. The Turner Hall backstage walkthrough was a great chance for Jenii to get a feel for the space, meet the crew, and take some pictures and measurements.
As we mentioned, Jenii was the natural choice of designer on this project because she loves live music. In fact, she recalls a recent occasion that has her loving live music more than ever. “I got engaged onstage at a concert at the Rave, so this is right up my alley! This is just something that means a little more to me – to work on something having to do with music.”
Sasha Molin is Hospitality Director for PTG Live Events. She showed us the space, and explained what they are looking for. “We mostly wanna use this room to add more seating, make it more appealing, and make it so it can accommodate a variety of group sizes. It’s kind of a commercial space, kind of not.. it’s more personal. It’s definitely cool and different, I’m just excited to see how the room can transform, and how much I can fit into this smaller space, and utilize what we do have.”
Both Jenii and Sasha agree the history of the building is vital to the design, and they don’t want to take away from that. Jenii says, “I’m excited to give this room a little TLC and have it be more accommodating and welcoming, but still explore the history and feel of the space. We want this place to be a home away from home, and the only way to do that is with some quality furniture and a nice layout.”
Jenii sets to work taking room measurements and getting some pictures to help with her 3D design renderings. Like any design project, you have to start with the basic logistics/limitations of the room, and go from there. It’s like a puzzle, and our designers are great at solving it!
Sasha was also involved in our Pabst Theater backstage redesign, and is looking forward to this new challenge. “I’m excited to work on a totally different space than the Pabst backstage. This one is smaller, but more open, and there’s natural light!”
After the initial design consultation, the interior designer takes the information (measurements, pictures, etc) and puts together an in-store presentation for the client(s).
Jenii works out of Oak Creek, so the Pabst crew paid a visit to our Superstore on South 13th Street right off I-94. Sasha says she was pretty impressed by Jenii’s 3D design presentation. “I thought it definitely made the experience that much better in visual form, and to see a 3D mock-up of how it will look in the room is really helpful.”
Tiffany Coris does Sponsorship and Marketing for the Pabst Theater Group. She adds, “The 3D program and the presentation were really impressive, really put together. It’s also good to see a couple other options – you don’t always get a feel for how good the first option is until you see other options.”
As a designer, Jenii says the 3D program takes her presentations to the next level. “What I really like is it’s really easy for me to show them WHY I picked out the things I did. They can see how everything looks in the space, and get a spatial idea of how it will look, and just have a face to face conversation and go over the details.”
Jenii says she usually takes about an hour or so to set up vignettes for her client presentations, print the sheets, and walk the store to make sure she knows where everything is located. That’s the other cool thing about the in-store presentation – it gives the clients a chance to see, feel, and experience the possible pieces – not just see them on a page.
We’re still working out the final details of the space.. then the order will get processed, and a delivery date will be set! Stay tuned to our Steinhafels blogand social sites, as well as the Pabst Theater Group’s various social media to learn more about the project – and how Jenii will combine Home and History to create the perfect backstage space.
UPDATE Tues 1/23: Alex won BIG on Wheel of Fortune last Thursday!! She ended up winning a $10,000 trip to South America and $7,500 in cash. She was the big winner that night and went to the bonus round. Unfortunately, she didn’t solve the puzzle, but still walked away with $17,500 in cash prizes and memories that will last a lifetime.
Alex had a viewing party at Layla’s Pub in Wisconsin Rapids, and shared a few pictures with us. She says, “As far as the viewing party goes, it was incredible! It was so surreal to be surrounded by friends and family and to share my Wheel of Fortune experience with them. We had a big screen and projected the show onto it so everyone could see.”
CONGRATS ALEX!!! We are so happy for you.
Original Blog Post:
If you’ve been watching Wheel of Fortune lately, and it seems like a lot of folks from Wisconsin are venturing out to Los Angeles for warmth and winnings, you’re not mistaken!
Several contestants from our Steinhafels/CBS 58 Wheelmobile event last October have already met Pat and Vanna, and had some success on the Wheel. We’ll hear more from them in a future blog post. However, today let’s meet Alexandria from Wisconsin Rapids. Her big episode is set to air this coming Thursday, January 18 (check your local listings). We are so excited to see if Alexandria can hit it big on the Wheel!
Alexandria can’t tell us how she did, but she did take a few minutes to talk with us about this once in a lifetime experience – that all started at the Wheelmobile auditions at our Steinhafels Superstore in Oak Creek. Hundreds came out to audition, but only a handful made it to callbacks, and even fewer to the big show. Here’s a look at the process through the eyes of an actual contestant!
Steinhafels: Tell us briefly about yourself – where were you born and raised, and are you a big Wheel of Fortune fan?
Alexandria: I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids. I am a Marketing Manager at a veterinary clinic, and a huge Wheel of Fortune fan! Growing up my family loved watching and playing along while the Wheel was on every night.
S: Are you excited to see your episode this Thursday (1/18)? Do you have a viewing party planned?
A: I am super excited to watch my episode air! I told my sister that I hope I didn’t make a fool of myself, and she said probably no more than usual. We’re going to have a viewing party at Layla’s Pub in Wisconsin Rapids. It’ll be great to finally be able to share my entire experience with everyone!
S: What made you come out to the auditions at Steinhafels Oak Creek?
A: I didn’t actually know the Wheelmobile was coming to Steinhafels Oak Creek until a couple days beforehand! My sister saw that it would be there on the news, and once she told me I knew I had to go. My parents decided they wanted to see the Wheelmobile too, so we all headed to Oak Creek on Friday!
S: What did you think of the audition process?
A: I had no idea what to expect once we arrived at Steinhafels Oak Creek, but was amazed with the audition process. There was so much energy in the room and everyone was so excited to be there! Once we put our names in the bingo drum it was left up to chance. Almost halfway through the first audition set they called my dad’s name and I couldn’t have been more excited. Two rounds after that, they called my name! I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe it. What were the chances that out of all the Wheel fans there, both of us would get called on stage?! From there, it was like playing a mini game of Wheel of Fortune. I only called one letter and didn’t solve the puzzle, but it was so much fun. We had an amazing time and talked about it the entire ride home.
S: Did you think you would make it on the show?
A: I had no idea! I just tried to be myself and make logical choices when it came to calling letters, and the rest was out of my hands.
S: They had a finalist event here in Milwaukee after the auditions, correct? How did you do at that?
A: I received an email asking me to come to the finalist audition a few days after the Wheelmobile was at Steinhafels Oak Creek. That audition was definitely harder than the one at Steinhafels Oak Creek! I thought that I did pretty good and that maybe, if I was lucky, I would get to be a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune.
S: When did you find out you got on the big show? What was your reaction?
A: A week after the final audition in Milwaukee I received a call asking if I was available to come out to tape the show two weeks later! I was completely shocked and couldn’t wrap my head around what just happened. At that moment, I realized I was going to be an actual contestant on the Wheel of Fortune!
S: It’s a pretty quick turnaround. Was there any doubt you would go, or did you just say ‘yes’ and make it happen?
A: Once I got the call I immediately said yes. Being on the Wheel of Fortune is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there was no way I was passing that up. That meant two weeks to get everything in order and then head out to California!
S: What was the show-taping process like, including Pat and Vanna – what were they like?
A: I arrived at the studio the morning of the taping and was awestruck. I knew the whole day was going to be a blur and that I just needed to take everything in. Once all the contestants arrived and we were finished with hair and makeup it was time to see our biggest competition of the day – the wheel. Words can’t even describe walking out onto the set for the first time! It was magical. While we were out there, Vanna showed up! She congratulated us all for making it to the big show and wished us all luck – can you say star struck! Vanna, Pat, and everyone at the studio were incredibly nice. They wanted you to be the best wheel player you could be, and were there to cheer you on through the entire process.
S: Did you have fun in LA? Any memorable moment you want to share?
A: Going to LA was such a great experience, but even more so because I was able to share it with my mom. We went around her birthday so we used that as a ruse for our trip. Neither of us had ever been there and we dove in head first. We spent time in Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills; and were able to see and do so many things! Taping the Wheel of Fortune was definitely my favorite part, but we also had a special 50th birthday dinner for my mom. We made some new friends, had some cocktails, and she was surprised with a sparkler topped slice of cheesecake complete with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’
S: I know you can’t tell us how you did, but are you happy you did it?
A: Being on the Wheel of Fortune is a once in a lifetime experience, so that alone was absolutely priceless. I know that I did my best, and that’s something I can be happy with!
No matter the outcome on Thursday, you’re a star to us Alexandria!
Stay tuned to the Steinhafels Blog for more profiles about Wheel contestants, and keep an eye out on social media – we’ll try to post before local contestants appear on the show.
It was another successful Steinhafels BRAVA Night Out “Wine and Design” this past October. This second annual event is a great chance for our Decorating Solutions Interior Design team members to show off some of their skills, and for community members to come in and see interior design in action. And it doesn’t hurt that free food and wine are involved as well!
CHECK OUT THIS FUN VIDEO:
Last year we held the event at our Madison West store. We got such great feedback, that we knew we had to bring it back! It was perfect timing, since our new Madison East Store on High Crossing Boulevard just opened this past summer. What better way to show off our new store than through a fun, community-related event?
BRAVA Night Out “Wine and Design” offers customers a chance to get a behind the scenes look at Steinhafels’ interior design program in a relaxed, fun setting. This year’s event featured “passports” to 3 different design stations: Design Quiz, Tablescapes for the Holidays, and Color Trends with Sherwin Williams.
Attendees were also entered into an Interior Design Package Giveaway… and did we mention free wine??
The Byrd Brothers supplied the awesome live music soundtrack to our evening, and Metcalfe’s catering was delicious as always!
We hope to continue this new tradition. BRAVA Magazine is a great community partner, and we are so excited to be growing in Madison. Thanks to all who made this fabulous evening possible!
Here at Steinhafels, we are humbled to play a small role in so many wonderful community organizations. One of those groups is Special Spaces Wisconsin, which helps to create dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
We’ve partnered with Special Spaces for several years now. The Steinhafels mission is to help people create the homes of their dreams–so Special Spaces is a perfect fit. In a typical interior design project, the living room or family room is usually the focal point of the redesign. But in the case of Special Spaces, the bedroom is the crown jewel of the project! We get to help furnish bedrooms that are true escapes and safe spaces for kids who just want to be kids.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at a recent project in Milwaukee. KK is a 10-year-old who’s been through more in her short life than most of us can even imagine battling in a lifetime. She was in the hospital during her dream bedroom makeover, but when she finally made it home she was delighted to discover her very own “special space” to heal, find comfort and peace.
KK’s story has been an inspiration to Steinhafels Waukesha Sales Manager Becky Morgan. Becky took some time to tell us more about the Special Spaces program, and why KK’s story has had such an impact on her.
What inspires you about KK’s story?
Becky: “She’s a fighter! She beat leukemia, had a heart transplant, her body is fighting her new heart, and her leukemia came back. This little girl is just 10 years old. No one should ever have to experience this, let alone a child. Her focus should be on Pokemon and enjoying life, not fighting to live.”
You mentioned KK’s mom being an amazing woman. Tell us a little more about her.
“KK’s Mom. She is a single mother who works in a nursing home, and raises 10 children varying in age from 18-3. When I first visited the home, the children were all happy, there were wonderful notes from school on the fridge, extra curricular activities posted with pride on the fridge, thankful children (one of the youngest was so excited about the gallons of milk in the fridge, he kept saying thank you, thank you). I grew up with both parents and only one sibling, and I know that was not an easy task, so for one parent dealing with the amount of curve balls she has been given–she is truly an impressive mother!”
What was the focus with KK’s bedroom redesign?
“KK really loves Pokemon and that was the focus for her space. Special Spaces meets with the family and child to make sure they get what they want. The most important part was making sure they had beds, and a bright space to retreat to when needed. The 2 other bedrooms were made to feel the same way–new beds, and space of their own.”
The Steinhafels Waukesha Store Sales Team held a food and supply drive for KK and her family. Can you tell us more about this?
“The supply drive came about as I was sitting with a coworker, talking about the needs for this family and how hard the mom works. I am about to be a mother myself, and hearing the heartache that this family is going through brought me to tears. My mother in law also has cancer and she is such a fighter, but I know the toll it takes on her each and every time she has chemo or a bad day. She needs comfort, space and basic necessities. As I was listening to the needs of the family I could not help but immediately want to dive in and get what I could. My parents also taught us to give when we can and to always help others, so to me this was top priority.”
“We also have some amazing sales associates on our staff. Cheri (a Bedroom Specialist) overheard the needs and immediately said we need to help this family! I talked with our staff and they were all ready to help. They suggested a food drive. I was ecstatic that they were all so ready to jump in and help. They came everyday with food and daily necessities. We also had a great deal of cash donations. With the cash donations I went and got each child and mother a little caddy that I filled with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, toothbrushes, hair brushes, nail polish (they needed something fun), hair ties, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, chapstick, etc. We made the mom a special basket filled with pampering products like face-masks, bubble bath, soothing lotion, etc. We were also able to fill a laundry basket with cleaning supplies, hand soaps, detergent, laundry needs, feminine products, kitchen products, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cooking supplies, and extra soaps and toothbrushes. It was also very important for me to get a huge tub of animal crackers as this was part of the story on their initial visit (the little guy wanted some, and what kid should go without animal crackers??)”
“Renae Williams (Bedroom Specialist) also took it upon herself to make sure each child and their mother had brand new pillows. She came in like Santa Clause with a bag larger than her, filled with brand new pillows–because she said everyone needs a comfy pillow. Steinhafels donated some decorative pillows to jazz up the space too! Kas Oriental Rugs also donated four beautiful rugs for the family, one for each of the bedrooms, and a beautiful rug for their living room.”
How proud are you of your staff?
“I couldn’t be more proud of them! All I did was tell them this family’s story. They took their own initiative to make such an impact on this. I said give what you can, bring a can good or a toothbrush. They went so far above and beyond, it brought tears to my eyes every single time I walked into our break room, and then watching the family’s faces as they walked into their home was one of the best feelings I have ever had. I am so proud to be a part of this team–I could not ask for better people to surround myself with. Steinhafels is so very lucky to have these wonderful people working for them!”
We also want to give a shout-out to the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, Majic Productions, and all of the other amazing volunteers for their work on this makeover. We are so glad we could play a part in bringing a smile to KK’s face!
The nation will take time out to honor the brave men and women who served our country this Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11. It’s a proud day for our country, but also a day that brings back difficult memories for many of our nation’s finest.
Organizations like the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight are working to help ease the pain of those memories. The Honor Flight happens several times a year, and takes veterans (World War II, Korea, and Vietnam) to see their monuments in Washington D.C.
The day ends with a huge welcome home event at Mitchell International Airport. Steinhafels has partnered with the Honor Flight for years, through various donation drives, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Mail Call” program.
But this Steinhafels blog looks at the Honor Flight from an even more personal angle–through the eyes of a veteran who works for our company. Theron Kramer has been part of the Steinhafels work family for 5 years, and has a skilled role in our Corporate Warehouse.
Before his time with Steinhafels though, Theron served our country as an Army Sergeant–deploying to both Kuwait and Iraq during his time in the service. Theron is one of many veterans we are proud to call part of the Steinhafels family.
Theron had the chance to be a Guardian on this past weekend’s Honor Flight. He was kind enough to share little bit about the experience with us.
Steinhafels: Thank you for your service! When did you serve?
Theron: I served with Bravo Company 2/128th Air Assault Infantry in the Wisconsin Army National Guard in August 2003. I was honorably discharged as a sergeant in Aug 2011 with Alfa Troop 1/105th Calvary.
How about the gentleman you escorted on the flight?
Theron: Mr. John Tilch served with 1st Infantry as a combat medic in Phuoc Pinh, Vietnam in 1967. Mr. Tilch was given a spot on the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and needed a guardian for the trip. I was very honored that he had asked me to go with him.
Why did you decide to join the service?
I joined the army because of the September 11th attacks. I felt like I needed to do something to help.
What is it like to be on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight?
The flight to Washington was filled with excitement and anticipation. The flight back, however, was filled with many emotions. Every veteran on the flight received “mail call” letters from back home.
I had never been to Washington D.C. before, and didn’t know what to expect while touring the memorials. Each memorial left you with a different emotion. The World War II memorial felt a bit cheerful and triumphant while the Vietnam wall was very mournful. The Korean War memorial was more dark and eerie.
What was the most emotional part of the journey?
In my opinion the welcome home at General Mitchell International Airport was the most emotional part of the trip. To see the large volumes of strangers, service members and family was so inspiring. Especially for Mr. Tilch, a Vietnam veteran, who didn’t get that ‘welcome home.’ This trip was for him, and I am filled with pride that he finally received the welcome home he deserves.
Why is the Honor Flight so important?
I think events like the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight are so important because it’s necessary to remind veterans that their selfless acts were appreciated, and that their call to duty did not go unnoticed.
I want to express my extreme gratitude to the staff at St. Paul School and Parish for their generous contributions. I also wanted to acknowledge the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight for the outstanding job that they do. Thank you!
And thank you Theron, for being a wonderful employee, and an example to other young men and women who want to take that extra step to protect the freedoms we are so lucky to enjoy here in the United States.
Help Steinhafels continue its support for veterans during our Veterans Day Sale, which runs through the end of business on Friday, November 10. Steinhafels will donate 5% of all sales to Fisher House Wisconsin. The Fisher House Foundation provides a network of comfort homes, where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment at the local VA.
Also, Steinhafels is a proud Presenter of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight “Mail Call” again this year. You can send a letter to a veteranon a 2018 flight! The Journal Sentinel will make a $10 donation for each letter received.
From the Fisher House to the Honor Flight, Steinhafels is proud to support our local veterans.
As we celebrate our 6th year supporting Fisher House Wisconsin, we are incredibly proud to have donated more than $250,000–towards providing a ‘home away from home’ for military families that have a loved one receiving treatment at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.
We are excited to report that since the ribbon cutting of the new Milwaukee Fisher House in Spring 2016, more than 1,000 families have been helped!!
Help us continue our support during our Veterans Day Sale this week, from Tuesday, November 7-Friday, November 10. Steinhafels will donate 5% of all sales to Fisher House Wisconsin.
Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is known for his slick moves and poise on the football field, but it’s what he’s doing off the field that truly has some families in Wisconsin proud to call him their favorite Packer.
Cobb and his wife Aiyda are involved with “Gold in September,” a childhood cancer non-profit dedicated to increasing funding for childhood cancer research.
Gold In September (G9) was created by Annie Bartosz of Hartland. Annie’s twin brother Jack was diagnosed with cancer when they were just 4 years old. Jack died after battling for almost 7 years, and Annie became determined to turn the world “Gold” In September for every child.
G9 partners with Centers of Excellence Hospitals across the country–which can offer Phase 1 Clinical Trials. G9 also works with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for these various hospitals in just a few short years. You can learn more about how to donate to G9 HERE.
Cobb recently joined in the fight, and Annie actually first got to meet him at a recent event at our Appleton store!! To see her reaction when she first met one of her football idols was just priceless.
Annie recalls that special moment. “It was really cool. I was obviously blown away, since he’s one of my favorite football players. I was also blown away by the fact that he’s just so humble and down to earth despite being a Wisconsin celebrity and NFL celebrity. And just…he’s not trying to take credit for anything. He just wants to do his part in helping the world be a better place, and I think that’s really cool.”
The event was a special appearance by Cobb and fundraiser for G9. Cobb, Annie, and her mother Sarah all took a few minutes to speak to the crowd, and Cobb was gracious enough to take pictures with guests. The event was produced by the USA TODAY NETWORK – Wisconsin. Check out this video we produced to hear Cobb’s special message for all of us.
We spoke with Sarah and Annie briefly after the event–about their struggles with losing a brother, son, father, and husband to cancer (Annie’s father John died a couple years ago after succumbing to the long term effects of cancer treatments he had years ago). Their story truly is heartbreaking and inspiring one that we can all learn from.
Steinhafels: What is the G9 message?
Sarah: Gold in September is a very simple concept. Gold (G) is the color for childhood cancer, and September (9) is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I think awareness will drive action, and what we really want people to do is think about Gold in September, in the month of September, as awareness month. But now we have 11 months of action. It is every day–there are children diagnosed every day, there are children dying…every day. That cannot be our reality. We want to make sure kids not only survive, but thrive, following a cancer diagnosis. And when the community comes together, not only are we supplying funding for new research and clinical trials, but really, that’s the hope that families need to be able to put one foot in front of the other, day after day, in the face of something that is so incredibly unbelievable, and difficult to handle.
Steinhafels: How do you do it, after all you’ve been through?
Sarah: I don’t know. There are days I’d like to just lay in bed. I miss my son Jack tremendously, I can’t even put into words. He should be turning 16 and taking Drivers Ed classes. My husband John was diagnosed in his early 20’s, and survived another 20 years, but died in his 40’s. When you ask how do I do this…I don’t want anyone else to feel like this. I don’t want anyone else to feel the sadness and despair that our family feels. We have more laughter in our house than tears, I’m proud to say that. We know that’s what Jack and John would want, and we’re just trying to fulfill the hope and enthusiasm they brought towards life. We can do that for ourselves and help people along the way as we go.
Steinhafels: Annie, you’re just a kid, but you’ve been through alot. What do you want to tell other kids who are struggling?
Annie: I want to let other kids know they’re not alone, and they can do their part in making a difference in the world, whether it’s helping one kid have a smile on their face today, or helping many kids hopefully have the chance to survive cancer. And I just think you can do anything you put your mind to. I never thought Gold in September would be this big–so let your dreams run wild, cuz you never know what will come from them.
Well put Annie–LET YOUR DREAMS RUN WILD! It’s events like these that truly bring us all together as a community, and we at Steinhafels hope this is just the beginning of a long partnership with Annie, Sarah, Cobb, and Gold in September.