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!

Journal Sentinel and Steinhafels Project a Great Success For Our Vets

Steinhafels, along with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been a proud partner of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight for years. It’s so exciting to see this organization flourish through the years, and expand to include Korean War vets… and soon, Vietnam vets.

We wanted to share an update on what’s been going on with the Honor Flight. Have you ever wished you could personally tell a veteran “Thank You?”

That’s why the Journal Sentinel recently featured the Mail Call project, presented by Steinhafels!

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People across Wisconsin wrote letters to veterans, and sent them to the Journal Sentinel. The letters will be presented to vets on future Honor Flights. In addition, for each letter received, the Journal made a $10 donation to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Mail Call ran from November to April, and yielded 4,835 letters to veterans–raising $35,000 for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Steinhafels was honored to host the check presentation this week.

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Here are some pictures from the first batch of Mail Call letters, which were distributed on the most recent flight, Saturday, April 8.

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The letters received through Mail Call were presented in addition to letters that Honor Flight volunteers secretly collected from family and friends of the veterans several weeks before the flight.

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On the flight home from Washington DC, each veteran’s name is called out on the loudspeaker, and the packages are handed out. Many veterans get very teary as they read the letters.

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Korean War veterans also received a letter from a Korean citizen who lives in Seoul, South Korea… thanking the vets for saving their country. How cool is that!?!

The funds raised through Mail Call will go toward future Honor Flights. It’s important to add that the Honor Flight is an all-volunteer organization that dedicates $.98 of every dollar donated directly to its mission.

The next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is Sunday, May 21.  There will be following flights on Friday June 9, Saturday September 16, Saturday October 14, and Saturday November 4.

If you are interested, they we are now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans, and they expect to fly large numbers of them this fall. Priority will still go to terminally ill veterans (from any conflict), then WWII and Korean War veterans because they’re the oldest.  After that, they will fly as many Vietnam veterans as possible!

You can apply HERE.

Also, check out this 5 Words on Freedom movie premiere footage, if you haven’t yet! Steinhafels was proud to host this event a couple years ago. We look forward to continuing this partnership with our heroes for many years to come.

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Life Without a Mattress… Steinhafels Teams Up With Meriter

It all started with a phone call… and has translated into a better night’s sleep for some of Madison’s poorest residents.

Steinhafels is proud to be a part of many community organizations across southeast and central Wisconsin, in addition to the Fox Valley. We especially love it when a cause we’re supporting also relates to our slogan: Relax. In this case, we look at some Madison residents who haven’t had a relaxing night’s sleep in years.

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Lisa Bell, Community Relations Manager at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, reached out to our Steinhafels West Superstore Zone Manager Joe Heins, who specializes in Mattresses. Meriter was looking to donate some mattresses to low income residents–some of whom are veterans. They asked us for a price quote… and we were able to offer them a very deep discount on mattresses and frames. 

Delivery Day was this Tuesday, May 9. The Steinhafels crew was ready to make some beds!

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Bell explains, “I am so pleased that Steinhafels has stepped in to help us make this project a reality. We are committed over the next couple of years to continuing to provide beds to the residents of the Triangle Neighborhood. This neighborhood houses some of our most vulnerable, medically and emotionally, fragile adults.”

The Triangle is a neighborhood of condos and apartments managed by the city, and houses some of Madison’s poorest, highest-risk residents (average yearly income is approximately $10,000).

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Heins says he likes to put an emphasis on helping local charities, and that it was bittersweet watching the residents receive their mattresses on Tuesday. “It was an amazing opportunity, but also heartbreaking. Listening to their personal stories, the challenges these people have faced and what they were sleeping on before, almost brought us to tears. It makes you take a look at the little things, that some of us often take for granted, and how it can be life changing.”  

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One of the recipients was an older woman, who was just released from the hospital a few weeks earlier after surgery.

THIS is what she was sleeping on before the delivery–a makeshift bed of pillows on the cold, hard floor:

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As you can imagine, Heins says she was so happy, almost in tears, when the Steinhafels delivery crew arrived with this bed, donated by Meriter!

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She’s not alone. Several of the resident were literally SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR. Heins admits that something like this truly brings to light just how important a good night’s sleep is.

“A good night’s sleep is so important for your health and quality of life. Things that we take for granted nightly are things they don’t have the luxury of. It’s a decision between food or rent, so buying a mattress isn’t even an option.”

We are so proud of our employees like Joe, who go the extra mile to help others… and we’re glad he appreciates us as well. Joe says, “I always love being able to talk about how great the company I work for is. Seeing the good that Steinhafels does for the community is why I am always trying to recruit my friends and family.”

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It’s just a small step to combat the nationwide issue of poverty and poor living conditions, but even if it brings just a tiny bit of awareness that we all may have a neighbor in need… that’s something.

You can learn more about this project, on various local media!

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL FRONT PAGE ARTICLE

CHANNEL 27 TV NEWS STORY

AWESOME Behind the Scenes VIDEO!

Also, check out a full photo gallery HERE!

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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!

 

2015 Year in Review: A Year of Giving and Growing!

2015 has been a big year for our company.  From continuing long-standing partnerships with local organizations, to making new friends in the community, to breaking ground on a multi-million dollar warehouse expansion… there’s never a dull moment here at Steinhafels.  We’d like to now briefly share a few of our favorite moments with you — as we look back at the year that was, and look forward to the new adventures 2016 has in store.

March 2015:  House of Hope Donation with the Kuhn Family

A home.  It’s something most of us take for granted.  For some people, finding a place to call home is a daily struggle.  The ‘House of Hope’ in Green Bay is hoping to change that.  Steinhafels is still new to the Fox Valley market, and we are excited to partner with The Green Bay Press Gazette, and help House of Hope in its fight against homelessness.  On this particular day we donated various pieces of furniture to help update the House, and make it more of a welcoming environment for those who need it most.  Packers Fullback John Kuhn and his wife Lindsey were also on hand for the event!

WATCH VIDEO FROM THIS SPECIAL DAY

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April 2015:  “Five Words on Freedom” documentary premiere

Steinhafels is proud to partner with the Journal Sentinel and Pick ‘n Save in supporting the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  The Flight honors all vets by flying World War Two, Korean War, and terminally ill vets to D.C. to visit their memorials.  A documentary crew followed the vets and special guest, Brewers star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on a recent flight.  The documentary premiered at Steinhafels’ Corporate Center in Waukesha.  Here’s a behind the scenes look at the big event!

WATCH VIDEO OF THE PREMIERE!

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May 2015:  “Keeping Tradition Alive in Pewaukee”

Fireworks on Pewaukee Lake have been a tradition for more than 25 years. However, due to the strained economy and funding challenges many communities are facing, the city’s hands were tied and leaders weren’t sure they could fund the annual event.  Steinhafels joined in Pewaukee’s ‘GoFundMe’ project to help save the fireworks.  Steinhafels pledged to match the final donation amount, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000.

Boaters on Pewaukee Lake watch a distant fireworks display to the west while waiting for the annual July 4th fireworks at Pewaukee's Lakefront Park on Thursday, July 4, 2013.

July 2015:  Groundbreaking for New Warehouse

As business continues to grow, Steinhafels is expanding its headquarters to match.  This July we broke ground on a more than 100,000-square-foot expansion at our Pewaukee facility.  An increased demand for quality furniture has led to this need for more space.  We’re constantly looking for more hard-working, dedicated people to join our team!  The expansion will take place in two phases, and ultimately add hundreds of employees to our company’s workforce.

“We’re breaking ground to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced, both with same-store sales with the economy picking up, and with the stores we’ve opened through the purchase from American (TV and Appliance),” president Gary Steinhafel told a local media outlet covering the event.

WATCH VIDEO OF THE GROUNDBREAKING!

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October 2015:  Design for a Difference

We can’t forget our community neighbors to the West!  This was our first year taking part in ‘Design For a Difference’.  Steinhafels was one of many local companies to help with this Extreme Makeover-style redesign at the ‘Center For Families’ in Madison, which helps families in crisis.  Thank you Floor 360 for inviting us to take part in this wonderful event.

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October 2015:  Kathy’s House Donation

We were excited to partner with Kathy’s House in Milwaukee for the first time this Fall.  Kathy’s House provides rooms for families who come from out of town and have a loved one in the hospital.  Thanks to some help from Tempur-Pedic, we were able to supply Kathy’s House with new mattresses and frames… so family members have a comfortable place to sleep during a traumatic time in their lives.

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October and December 2015:  Condella’s Coats for Kids

Steinhafels, Fox 6, and the Salvation Army team up every year for ‘Condella’s Coats for Kids’.  This year we held two coat drives at our Corporate store.  The community’s generosity was overwhelming, as volunteers collected hundreds of coats that will cleaned and distributed to children who need them throughout Milwaukee.  Those who donated also got 2 free tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters on New Years Eve!!

WATCH VIDEO OF FOX 6 NEWS COVERING THE EVENT!

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December 2015:  CBS 58 Toy Shop

Families in Milwaukee continue to struggle during these difficult economic times.  This is especially evident during the Christmas Holiday Season.  The Salvation Army ‘Toy Shop’ provides an opportunity for parents to choose from donated new toys so their children will have presents on Christmas Day, even if the family cannot afford to buy toys.  Barrels to accept toys were set up at all Steinhafels stores in southeast Wisconsin.

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As we look ahead to the next year, we are constantly working to update our retail stores and our online services, to make your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.  We want to hear from you!  Please, feel free to comment on our blog at any time, or give one of our friendly customer service agents a call.  We wish you and yours a wonderful New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!