Category Archives: Engaged in Our Community

Bekins Movers & truck

Remembering Extreme Village Makeover at Give Kids The World

A year ago, Give Kids The World took on the daunting task of renovating 88 25-year old villas in a two-week period, a task that was achieved with the hard work and planning of thousands, including a team from Wheaton | Bekins. We are looking back at the successful renovation with the people that helped make it happen from the members of the Wheaton| Bekins team.

Planning started back in June 2013 when Michael Bausman of Give Kids The World called Jason Fontaine of Central Moving & Storage for help with the two-week renovation. Jason went to his dad and owner of Central Moving & Storage, Jim Fontaine, about how they could help.04-29-2013-xtreme-village-makeover

“I told him that the Village was going to renovate approximately 100 units over a two-week period. He quickly did some math and said we could pull that off in two weeks then I told him that the renovation was going to be two weeks, but we have two days to get all the furniture fixture & equipment (FF&E) items in,” explained Jason Fontaine. “He replied you didn’t tell them we could do it. My answer was if we don’t do it somebody else will. This is something we had to do for the kids and the Village.”

The two started brainstorming on how to get the manpower and keep the cost down for the Village, so Jason contacted President of Wheaton | Bekins , Dave Witzerman, to help recruit agents and corporate staff to help with the renovation.

With plenty of planning over the next seven months, Jason and the team worked with the Wyndham group for what was deemed – Extreme Village Makeover, and extreme it was.

“Central Moving & StoragMore Loading Bekins Trucke handled more than 350,000 lbs. of FF&E/construction items for this project. We received approximately 300,000 lbs. in our warehouse,” Fontaine said. “There was a total of 38 trailers that were unloaded by CMS and their volunteers in two days. There was an additional four trailers loads of kitchen cabinets and four trailers of construction material that we delivered prior to the install.”

While Central Moving & Storage worked on the staging and operations, a 75-person Wheaton | Bekins team consisting of agents and corporate staff went to Orlando to unload and reassemble the furniture in the final days of the Extreme Village Makeover Project.

Jerrod_CIO_GKTWChief Information Officer at Wheaton | Bekins, Jerrod Carter, remembered what it was like trying to make the two-week deadline of renovating the villas for Extreme Village Makeover.

“The biggest thing I would say is it was enthusiastic and chaotic, but it was a very organized chaos. Everyone knew what their job was and there was a lot of activity going on all at one time in one unit.” Carter said. “We were just trying to get all of that work done as quickly as possible so Give Kids The World could get back to their mission of having kids on site and providing that unforgettable experience for that family. Everyone there knew that and were enthusiastically there to support that.”

With the hard and enthusiastic work of all the volunteers and businesses, the project was successfully completed in the short two-week time frame. The new villas were unveiled on ABC’s Good Morning America along with Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
“This project is one of the most aggressive projects that CMS has ever been a part of and could not have done it without the support of all the agents that gave up their time and knowledge to assist us.”Award

For all of his hard work as one of the main coordinators of the event, Fontaine was given an inaugural key to the village for his hard work on the project.

“I was honored,” Fontaine said. “There was still actually work that needed to be finished up, but Philip Torres of GKTW grabbed me and said you need to take a break and get something to eat and listen to the closing speeches. When they called my name, I was in total shock. I was just doing what was right for the Village.”

The completion of the villas was not only a huge success, but it brought the Wheaton | Bekins team closer together.

“Things like this bring all of us so much closer as agents and friends. It reminds me of the early days when we all had more time to do things together, which were the best years ever,” said Henry Cadle of Preferred Moving & Storage.

Wheaton|Bekins has been a partner of Give Kids The World since 2000, leading the efforts of Keaton’s Korral, where 7,300 families each year have been able to experience the fun of horse and pony rides, as they wear western hats and get to live out their cowboy dreams. Currently, Wheaton | Bekins is matching all donations to Keaton’s Korral until Jan. 31. To donate, please visit www.gktw.org/keatonskorral.

You can watch the recap of it all here, including the unveiling of the Villas here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE2UEu8LXu4

Ian Hazzard from Hazzard Moving & Storage also documented the experience which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrbxQOpdLCM

A very special thank you to all of the agents that had participated in the makeover.

AAA Moving & Storage:
George Bunkis
Richard McCant

Action Moving & Storage:
Shawn Biggs

American Relocation & Storage Systems:
Steve Lancashire

Bell Moving & Storage:
Deb Jablonski
Jim Jablonski
Joe Maddux
Marie Coakley
Neil Coakley
Tamara Kissel
Bill Kissel

Boerman Moving & Storage:
Dan Boerman
Mark Paloucek

Friends of Central Moving & Storage:
Drew Benedetto
Pam Benedetto
Adam Palmer
Pam Haines
Preston Haines
Paul DeCarlo

Florida Transfer & Storage:
Angelo Rick
Rachel Husky
Scott Huskey
Tracy McDuffy

Frank & Sons Moving & Storage:
Alex Hillman
Jim Gravedoni

Gilmore Moving & Storage:
Clayton Shaffer
Fredrick Riley
Steven Surles
Roni Gilmore

Hart Moving & Storage:
John Hart

Hazzard Moving & Storage:
Patrick Hazzard
Ian Hazzard

Liberty Movers:
Anthony Mandella
Callie Fontaine
Eric Desorcy
James Bibeau
Jason Dion
Jennifer Hennessy
Karen Fontaine
Mason Husser
Matthew Anderson
Matthew Walsh
Michael Fontaine
Michael Mandella
Paul Fontaine
Ryann Fontaine
Stephen Fontaine
Timothy Harris
William Henry
David Fontaine
Joe Fontaine
Scott McNamara
Audra McNamara

Preferred Moving & Storage:
Henry Cadle
Megan Cadle
Mark Crantz
Graham

Wheaton | Bekins corporate
Dave Witzerman
Jerrod Carter
Steve Burns

And all of the staff at Central Moving & Storage
Jason Fontaine
Jim Fontaine
Tammie Fontaine
Al Rossi
Chris Chapman
Chuck Gurganious
Jeffery Richardson
Jim Foley
John Brennan
John Christie
Nick Benedetto
Pam Fontaine
Willie Weeks
Mark Compton

Keatons Korral_4

World Humanitarian Day and Bekins

Today is World Humanitarian Day, which is a dedicated day to raise public awareness of the work undertaken by humanitarian organizations. We not only specialize in moving your household goods, but giving back is embedded in our corporate culture at Bekins Van Lines. For today’s blog, we are shining the spotlight on the organizations with which we work that are dedicated to making the world a better place.

Give Kids The World Village

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Bekins is a major sponsor of Give Kids The World Village near Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as well as the main sponsor for Keaton’s Korral located in the village. Give Kids The World Village is an organization that provides memorable, magical, cost-free experiences for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The village is a 70-acre resort that has welcomed more than 130,000 families from all 50 states and more than 75 countries.

A wall of letters from children that have experienced Give Kids The World Village found in the Bekins corporate office.

A wall of letters at the Bekins corporate office from children that have experienced Give Kids The World Village.

Keaton’s Korral
At Keaton’s Korral, more than 7,300 families each year have been able to experience the fun of horse and pony rides, while wearing cowboy hats and living out their cowboy dreams. Keaton’s Korral was named for Keaton White, an alumni wish child who spoke at the 2003 Wheaton | Bekins conference shortly before he lost his battle with cancer. His story touched so many of the agents and employees, as he told of his dream to ensure every child got to experience the joy he felt during his time at the Village.

Bekins Chairman, Stephen Burns with Keaton White, who inspired Keaton's Korral at Give Kids The World Village

Bekins Chairman, Stephen Burns with Keaton White, who inspired Keaton’s Korral at Give Kids The World Village

“Give Kids The World was one of the happiest times of my life,” White said. “I just want to be sure that someday another little boy or girl and their family are loved just as much as me and my family were loved.”

The 60th Annual Wheaton|Bekins Conference from November 5-8 in Scottsdale, Ariz., will be hosting a silent auction to raise money for Keaton’s Korral. You can also click here to donate to Keaton’s Korral and Give Kids The World Village.

Move for Hunger:

Move For HungerMove for Hunger is a nonprofit organization that works with relocation companies to collect unwanted food from people who are relocating and deliver it to food banks all across North America.

Bekins Van Lines currently has 34 agents participating and has collected 55,812 lbs., of food all-time and 29,138 lbs., of food in 2014 alone. It’s a win-win for all parties – food banks get a much needed boost all year long, customers feel good about the donation (and may even offset some of the cost of their move by reducing the weight of heavier canned goods), and Bekins participates in a nationwide initiative to combat hunger.

To learn more about Move For Hunger and how you can help, visit MoveForHunger.org.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center – The Tissue Bank collects blood and tissue samples from donors and makes the samples available to Susan G Koman Tissue Bankresearchers across the globe who are seeking to find a cure for breast cancer. Since 2008, Bekins has transported equipment for the Tissue Bank to collection events across the country. Visit KomenTissueBank.IU.edu to learn more about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center.

Meet new neighbors after a relocation by shopping for groceries with your dog

Ripley after our relocation to Indiana. He loves hanging out at the local farmers market.

Ripley after our relocation to Indiana. He loves hanging out at the local farmers market.


Relocating from Oklahoma to Indiana was a stressful experience for me and my family. Our relocation was prompted by my husband’s job transfer. Essentials had been packed and taken with us on our drive to get us through a few days until the professional relocation company delivered our furniture. We arrived in Indiana to an empty house. The first few days were a little like camping. After a long car ride and sitting in an empty house, the family was starting to get a little stir crazy.

New to the city and neighborhood, we decided to get out and about. So, we leashed up our dog, Ripley, and went to the local farmers market. It was a great experience! We met lots of locals and several of our neighbors as well as many local farmers. I even met a local rancher and purchased some meats to grill that evening. Our dog enjoyed exploring and meeting new canine friends, too. Many people stopped to chat with us because Ripley helped break the ice. It was a win-win and made us feel at home more quickly.

If you just moved to a new community, get out and explore by taking a trip to the local farmers market. The markets are free to roam, many have live entertainment and most have some prepared foods and snacks, which are perfect if your appliances haven’t arrived yet. Just being outside around other local people and the fresh, brightly colored fruits and veggies makes you feel more welcome.

Our family has gone to the local farmers market every Saturday it’s open. I love having the option to take my dog shopping for groceries!

Click here for a list of farmers markets in your area.

Bekins Sunday Spotlight: Finding Her Mission

Sunday Spotlight is a bi-weekly publication highlighting individual Bekins’ employees, agents and drivers and the unique talents, interests and hobbies each has. 

This week, follow along as we feature the philanthropic work and mission trip of Luann Sauer, Tech Support at the Bekins Corporate Office.

Finding Her Mission

Looking down the bathtub drain and realizing there were no pipes – just a hole leading to the ground underneath a family’s home –  was the first of many sobering surprises Luann Sauer would encounter on her one-week mission trip to Cranks Creek, Kentucky.

The full group who attended the mission trip

The entire group of volunteers.

Having heard about this trip for several years before attending and aware of the great need of the Appalachian region, Luann didn’t hesitate to take a week off work and serve as her church’s inaugural ambassador for what she now hopes will be an annual trip.

With more than 70 participants on the trip — 20 adult supervisors and 50+ middle school-aged youth volunteers — Luann served as a team leader.  Assigned to one specific family, she guided a group of young adults as they replaced roofs, repaired ceilings, repainted houses, built railings and organized rooms.  “What I didn’t expect to do, though, was 32 loads of laundry!” Luann said with a laugh.

Work and Play

A small group of young adults who volunteered with the mission trip

Luann’s small group of middle school-aged youth.

Working from 9 o’clock in the morning until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Luann supervised her team of middle school-aged students as they operated power tools, climbed up on top of roofs, and interacted with the residents of Cranks Creek.  “I knew this was a great opportunity to get the kid’s from my home church, Bethany Christian, involved in a cause that’s bigger than themselves.  After seeing what this week was like, I can’t wait to bring all of them down here next year.  It will give them a sense of responsibility and accountability and show them that there’s a whole other place where people don’t live like they live.”

More important, though, than getting all the work done was building relationships with both the people of the community and the other volunteers.  When asked her favorite part of the week-long trip, Luann said without skipping a beat, “The fellowship.”  Even though she was only in the community for a week, she was able to forge a close bond with the family with which she worked directly. “We’re friends on Facebook and are keeping in touch that way.  The three kids in the family also all colored me a picture when I left.  It was a really special moment.” The evenings also were a memorable time for Luann.  The volunteers took time to debrief the day and share their favorite moments.  “It’s amazing how quickly people can bond together when they’re working towards the common good of others.”

Importance of Involvement

In addition to volunteering for this mission trip, Luann is an active member of her church, located on the Southside of Indianapolis.  She is the Youth Leader, teaches Sunday school, is in charge of fundraisers, and also helps to feed the neighborhood children every Wednesday night at her church.

Bekins History

Luann has been with Wheaton Van Lines (parent company of Bekins) since 2004, helping with tech support and other computer issues that pop up in the corporate office. She is married, has two children, three Chihuahuas, one cat and resides on the Southside of Indianapolis.

Bekins Gives Back

Last weekend, Bekins Transfer and Storage, agent for Bekins Van Lines, Inc., held a food drive in their home state of Pennsylvania.  This food drive was a collaborative effort between Move For HungerRedner’s Market and Bekins Transfer and Storage.  The food drive was set up in front of the entrance of local supermarket Redner’s Market giving participants a convenient drop-off point for donations.

Team Effort

“The food drive was really a team effort,” said Dan Malatesta, Moving Consultant at Bekins Transfer and Storage.  “My co-workers helped out by putting up flyers in the local banks and anywhere that had a bulletin.  Also, employees from Render’s were available to help set up the event.”

Results

The rainy weather threatened to put a damper on the food drive.  “We were anticipating the results to be about 3 boxes because of the weather, but we ended up collecting over 20 boxes filled with food. I want to give a special thanks to the Pottstown community for their donations,” Malatesta said.  The 20 boxes of food contained 840 pounds of food, all of which will be donated to local food banks that supply meals to some of the 83,000 needy people in the area.

a man standing in front of a table covered in Bekins boxes

Dan Malatesta stands in front of the impressive results of the food drive.

Move For Hunger 

Move For Hunger is a nonprofit that works with relocation companies to help fill the pantries of our nation’s food banks.  Since its inception in 2009, Move For Hunger has collected over 1.4 million pounds of food for food banks across America.  Bekins Van Lines, Inc. is a proud contributing partner of Move For Hunger.

Allwright Moving Systems Participating in ‘Toys for Tots’

Press Release:  November 2011 – Contact: Rebecca Glatzhofer

With the arrival of the 2011 holiday season Allwright Moving / Bekins Van Lines is joining with the U.S. Marine Corps to give back to the community, with the annual Toys for Tots drive.

Allwright Moving – Bekins is a collection site for dropping off new toys to be distributed by the Marine’s Toys for Tots program to needy children in the area for the holiday season.  We hope to give away thousands of toys to our local children in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties.    Toys collected in Racine are distributed to our Racine children. 

New and unwrapped toys can be dropped off during business hours of 8am – 5pm Mon-Fri – 2933 105th Street, Sturtevant, WI 53177.  We are the corner of Hwy 11 and Hwy H. 

Toys for Tots has been collecting and delivering toys for children since 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks USMCR and a group of Marine Reservists collected and distributed 5000 toys to needy children. 

Please contact Rebecca Glatzhofer at Allwright Moving 262-989-6835 if you have questions or need directions to Rebeccag@allwrightmoving.com             

 

The BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois Elects Bob Dalaskey to their Board of Directors

Bob Dalaskey, Sr. Vice President of Business Development for Bekins Van Lines, Hillside, IL has been elected to the Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois’ Board of Directors. The  Better Business Bureau is an advocate for consumer protection and Bekins’ is a BBB accredited business.  This accreditation means that Bekins has met strict standards set forth by the BBB.  In fact, Bekins has earned an A+ rating with the BBB and is proud to be affiliated with an organization synonymous with trust.

As a member of the board, Mr. Dalaskey will participate on various BBB committees that are focused on providing consumer protection.  In addition, he will also take part in BBB’s meetings and events.  Bekins will continue to support the BBB’s events which include the Consumer Research Guide and the Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics.

Bob Dalaskey is a long-term supporter of the BBB and knows the importance of ethical business behavior that provides customer satisfaction and long-term sustainability and success.  He is focused on assisting the BBB in meeting their principal goal – having more companies becoming BBB accredited for the good of all consumers.  Businesses must continue to provide quality products and services to their customers and correct any processes that might lead to a consumer’s dissatisfaction.

Bob Dalaskey has been part of the Bekins family since January, 1993.  In addition to his executive position at Bekins, Mr. Dalaskey is a valued industry leader serving on committees for the American Moving & Storage Association and the Illinois Movers and Warehousemen’s Association.  He stated, “I am honored to have been elected to the board of this esteemed organization and will do my part in ensuring customer satisfaction”.

Helping to Celebrate More Birthdays

Relay for Life awards Bekins "Jade" level contribution and celebrates with Bekins employees.

The American Cancer Society surprised Bekins corporate headquarters in Hillside, IL with a thank-you party celebrating Bekins “Jade” level fundraising efforts for the Relay for Life Countryside, IL event.  Bekins raised more than $10,000 for the organization and were recognized a during an awards ceremony at the American Cancer Society’s Leadership Summit held recently in Chicago. 

Bekins cancer survivors celebrate another birthday!

Relay for Life events all over the country raise money for the American Cancer Society – The official sponsor of Birthdays™.   Bekins Team  leader,  Nancy Devereux, Bekins VP of Employee Care stated, “helping the American Cancer Society is so important.  Their support helps cancer patients every step of the way”.

Click here to view more photos.

Bekins wins award from U.S. Commerce Association

Bekins Receives 2011 Best of Waukegan Award

U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

NEW YORK, NY, September 23, 2011 — Bekins has been selected for the 2011 Best of Waukegan Award in the Moving Services category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2011 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

About Bekins Van Lines
Bekins Van Lines, LLC provides relocation and transportation solutions directly to the private consumer, U.S. Military and Government programs and for corporate relocation. Founded in 1891, Bekins has a long history of being a leading relocation service provider for the limited budget (lump sum) customer. Bekins is focused on bringing the latest technology to its transportation service programs to maximize our customers’ service value and budget efficiencies. Visit www.bekins.com for more information about Bekins and its agent companies.

SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Commerce Association
Email: PublicRelations@uscaaward.com
URL: http://www.uscaaward.com

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