Steinhafels Employee Takes the “Honor” Flight of His Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 veteran on a 2018 flight! The Journal Sentinel will make a $10 donation for each letter received.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

attn: Mail Call

333 W. State St.

Milwaukee, WI 53203

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UPDATE: Fisher House Wisconsin 1,000+ Strong!

From the Fisher House to the Honor Flight, Steinhafels is proud to support our local veterans.

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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.

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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!! 

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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.

Check out our original Fisher House Blog HERE.

And thanks to all of our generous customers for your continued support of all of our community efforts!

Fisher House Partnership Continues With Recent Donation

We are excited to share a recent post by Fisher House Wisconsin!  Check it out HERE.

Steinhafels is proud to continue its partnership with the Fisher House–which provides a home away from home for families that have a loved one receiving treatment at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

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Last December, we presented Fisher House Wisconsin with a check for $75,000. The donation was made possible through proceeds from our Veterans’ Day Sale.

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These types of donations wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of our sales, customer service, warehouse, and corporate staffs.  Thanks to you, we are able to provide our customers with a top-notch sales experience AND make an impact in our community.

Thank you veterans and families of veterans for all you have sacrificed for our country!

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Fisher House & Steinhafels: Helping Military Families Find a Home Away From Home

It’s a project more than 5 years in the making, but the Fisher House Wisconsin is now officially open for business!  Steinhafels is proud to have played a part in making that happen.

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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.  There are currently 70 locations on the grounds of military and VA medical facilities throughout the United States, as well as Germany and the United Kingdom.  The program began in 1990.

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Steinhafels knew right away that this was a project we wanted to be a part of.  As Marketing Director Dirk Stallmann explains, “The Fisher House is such a wonderful way to give back to the men and women serving our country, particularly those who are recovering from injury or illness.  Providing a convenient place for their families to stay during their time of need provides countless benefits.”

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Wisconsin’s new Fisher House sits on the picturesque campus of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.  Steinhafels was honored to be invited to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 23.

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It was a gorgeous day for the ceremony, and hundreds came out to recognize our brave heroes.  The program began with a Presentation of the Colors and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  Distinguished guests included retired military, medical professionals, and Ken Fisher–CEO and Chairman of the Fisher House Foundation.

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However, the most touching part of the morning was definitely an emotional speech by Michael Halula.  Michael’s son David sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2007 during a car crash.  It happened just before he was scheduled to deploy.  After receiving acute care at the Milwaukee VA, David was transferred to the Minneapolis VA for rehab.  He remained there for 11 months.  During that time, Michael and his wife visited David on the weekends, and stayed at the Minneapolis VA Fisher House.  Their story is just one example of the 277,000 families served by Fisher Houses since 1990.

Steinhafels takes part in many community events, but this one is extra special.  As Stallmann notes, “We are in the business to help create the home of our customers’ dreams, and the Fisher House Wisconsin was a perfect tie.”

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But we are just one small piece of this amazing puzzle.  This project truly shows how generous the people of Milwaukee are, and how much we support our veterans.  We are the first community ever to raise enough funds for a Fisher House before construction even began!  This wasn’t all that surprising to those who live here in Wisconsin.  As Stallmann explains, “When seeing the house, my heart swelled with pride for our entire state.  This house was built with the love and generosity of so many donors, and serves as another example of why Wisconsin is so special.”

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The home has a cozy feeling, but measures a roomy 13,000 square feet.  It includes 16 private suites and a communal kitchen and living area for people traveling at least 50 miles to be with family members getting treatment at the VA medical center.  Those who attended Saturday’s ceremony got a chance to get a first glimpse inside the home!

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If the house is at capacity, the Fisher House will pay for those families to stay in a nearby hotel.  This truly shows the foundation’s commitment to our community, our veterans, and their families.  We are so proud to be a part of this fantastic mission!

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Click HERE for a full gallery of photos from the ceremony and house tour.

Click HERE for video of the ribbon-cutting.

Click HERE for behind-the-scenes video from the house tour!