Category Archives: Engaged in Our Community

Horses together

Against all Odds, Love and Patience Prevail

Giving back is a philosophy that is embedded in the culture of Bekins’ staff, agents, drivers and everyone connected with the van line. General Manager at Bekins A-1 Movers in Las Vegas, Nev., Nicole Timberlake, has lived that philosophy by finding a way to do her hobby while saving the lives of two horses.

When Nicole was two years old, she knew horses were going to be a huge part of her life. She was always active in riding and had horses growing up, but for ten years Nicole did not have a horse. She describes this as the “loneliest ten years of her life.” Nicole decided it was time to buy a horse in February 2014. She spent her nights researching  horses to buy. One night, someone reached out to Nicole asking if she would be interested in taking a horse in need. Nicole had this strong feeling inside her that she couldn’t ignore, so she made a call about a horse that no one knew what to do with named Tokyo.

Picture sent to Nicole of Tokyo

Picture sent to Nicole of Tokyo

After spending an hour on the phone and a few tear-jerking pictures, Nicole decided to take on Tokyo.

“I just felt I needed him as much as he needed me.  There was something in his eyes that pulled me in,” Nicole said. “He was skin and bones, covered in rain rot so bad it was confused as mud all over his body.  He had abscesses in his nose so big he was in constant pain just breathing. He was getting fed, but still losing weight.  I looked at those pleading eyes and thought he was the most beautiful mess I’d ever seen.  Through tears and then fear I began to arrange the transportation of this horse I’d never touched.”

Later that evening, Nicole received another call from a farm in Kentucky about a horse named Runaway Ruler. Runaway was going to be sent to a barn that was going to breed her year after year and Nicole didn’t want her to live a life like that. Within minutes Nicole had agreed to take on not one, but two horses in need.

Both horses had a history of racing, but both encountered very unfortunate circumstances and neglect. Nicole only heard their story through third and fourth party sources, but knew it was going to be a challenge for both her and the horses.

Runaway at the track

Runaway at the track

Runway’s past was bright as she was a promising race horse. Unfortunately, she suffered an injury and was pin fired – which is a treatment for an injured horse’s leg by burning, freezing or dousing it with acid or chemicals to help it heal. Pin firing is not taught in modern veterinary medicine and is considered barbaric and a cruel form of treatment. Due to the scars of pin firing, Runaway was then put in the “unwanted” category and ended up in a Kentucky facility for four years.

Tokyo racing in one of his 87 races.

Tokyo racing in one of his 87 races.

It was clear from the pictures Tokyo had endured some neglect. Nicole heard Tokyo was literally abandoned at a track when his owner/trainer died and the track was in the process of closing down. When he was finally found he was sent to a facility in Ohio that specialized in retraining and selling ex racehorses. Tokyo wasn’t able to be retrained, and he wasn’t wanted in that facility anymore. In fact, if Nicole did not take Tokyo, she was told he was headed to the slaughter house because he was mean and no one wanted to help him.

Getting the horses from Kentucky to Las Vegas was a difficult task. Nicole hired a driver to make the trek with both horses. During the trip, the driver called Nicole to let her know Runaway was down most of the trip and she seemed like she was in a lot of pain. The driver told Nicole he had been hauling horses for more years than he wanted to admit, and these two horses were the saddest cases he had ever seen. Nicole expected the horses to be in bad shape, but not as bad as they were in when they arrived.

Runaway in March 2014

Runaway in March 2014

The horses arrived at 2:20 a.m. on February 26, 2014. The driver and Nicole had difficultly getting Runaway down the ramp. When they finally were able to, they noticed she was walking on three legs. Then Tokyo wobbled off the truck barely being able to hold up his own weight, which wasn’t much to begin with.

“I knew this was going to rough, but seeing them in person was tough,” Nicole said. It was so tough that Nicole and the driver both hugged and cried after seeing the horses’ condition.

Tokyo's strangles

Tokyo’s strangles

Nicole’s vet, Dr. Shur, arrived around 11 a.m. the next day and was in disbelief at the condition of both horses. Despite not being able to walk on all four legs, Runaway’s outlook was good. The vet found an abscess which was causing her pain when walking. Runaway also suffered from hair loss and scabbing on her chest from wearing a blanket that was too small. Within three months, Runaway was back to normal.

tokyo 7

Rain rot on Tokyo’s legs

Tokyo on the other hand had a lot more to overcome. His issues extended with his weight, clenbuterol withdrawals, rain rot, strangles, abscesses, fear of being hit in the face, rocking horse knees and weak ankles. With lots of love and patience from Nicole, Tokyo overcame of the odds and recovered.

“Dr. Shur said I did an amazing job. She even said Tokyo was actually a little fat, which we will take a little fat!” Nicole said. “Dr. Shur also said Runaway was one of the most beautiful mares she had ever seen.”

A little more than a year later, Tokyo and Runaway, are completely recovered and spend their days running around their back yard and receiving lots of love from Nicole.

“I have hundreds and hundreds of hours wrapped up in caring for them and that has equated in thousands and thousands of tears of joy and great big smiles,” Nicole said. “I gave them a home, but they rescued me. Together the three of us are like a pack of lifesavers.”

Horses together

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

You can watch the recap of it all here, including the unveiling of the Villas here:

Ian Hazzard from Hazzard Moving & Storage also documented the experience which can be viewed here:

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

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

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

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 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.”


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             


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.