Sunday Spotlight: Down on the Farm

Owning a cattle farm is hard work, and for the Gilmore family, it truly is a family establishment.  Located in the Florida panhandle, Gizmo Angus Farm is their pride and joy. With involvement in the farm spanning three generations, the Gilmore’s live and breathe this work and find that it’s a passion that the whole family can share and enjoy together.

Getting Started

a family portrait

The Gilmore Family

So how does a family get started running a 200-head cattle farm? The Gilmore family says it happened gradually.  Farming has always been an interest for the Gilmore’s; in fact, Debbie and Ronnie Gilmore, patriarchs of Gizmo Angus, met while participating in 4-H.  When they got married and had children, they encouraged their two boys to also participate in the organization.

Their oldest son Lucas began showing steers at age 12 and was followed by their youngest, Jacob, a year later.  They chose to show steers based on the thought process that you can probably make more money with steers than you can with other animals such as horses.  Thus began the Gilmore’s love affair with cattle… and it hasn’t stopped since.

Gizmo Angus Farm

Debbie Gilmore bought her husband Ronnie his very first cow for his birthday back in 1991 and she says the rest is history.  The farm started as just a small plot of land at their house a family riding on a tractor on a farmwith only five cows to their name.  By 2001, when Jacob graduated high school, the family purchased 400 more acres of land and accumulated a total of 200 cows, 120 of those being mothers.

The operation has grown even more since then.  Their main focus on the farm is to sell purebred Angus bulls to commercial cattlemen which in turn help the cattlemen improve their own cow herds.  “You have to stay on top of what’s working in the industry,” Debbie explains.

This is especially evident in Debbie’s work studying cattle genetics.  Figuring out how to breed each cow is the linchpin of the family business and Ronnie even says that “Debbie is the brains of the operation”.  “She’s the one who leads this rodeo,” laughs Ronnie.

Whereas Debbie studies the genetics of the cows, Jacob and Ronnie’s passion lies in judging the cattle and looking for ways to improve them.  Even Jacob’s wife, who, according to Debbie is a “total city girl”, has even started getting involved in the operation.  “She’ll go out there and try and learn how to pick the best cows. She asks quite a few questions and has learned a lot about the cattle operations,” Debbie explains.

Jacob’s twin daughters, the third generation of Gilmore’s, have already picked out their own heifers. They may only be two years old, but they have already embraced life on the farm. two babies in front of a herd of cows The girls enjoy riding in the family Gator and looking at the cattle with their mother and father.

Bekins Van Lines Connection

Gilmore Moving & Storage began in 1955 by Ronnie’s father.  The moving company signed on to become an agent for our partner company, Wheaton World Wide Moving in 1979 and have enjoyed being a part of the network of agents ever since then.  Their favorite part of being a Wheaton agent? The fellow agents and friends that they’ve made over the years.  “We’ve truly appreciated and enjoyed the relationship with Wheaton over the past few decades,” Debbie said.

Make sure to keep up with the rest of Bekins’ Sunday Spotlights.

Sunday Spotlight: Fitness Superwoman


Every day is a juggling act for Annie Dietrich, CFO of Bekins agent, Lincoln Moving & Storage Co.  She wakes up every weekday at 4:40a.m. to prepare herself for her long, busy and full day.  Yes, Annie works for Lincoln Moving & Storage, but that isn’t her only working responsibility.  She is also the proud Co-Owner and a Certified Group Exercise Instructor and Personal Trainer at her fitness studio, AOK! Fitness.

Her Passion for Fitness

Dietrich has always enjoyed being active, citing walking and biking as a couple of her

a man and a woman

Annie Dietrich and her husband.

favorite physical activities. She started making exercising a staple in her daily routine back in 1985, reminiscing listening to 80’s classics such as “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield and “Physical” by Olivia Newton John while working out and teaching classes.  “I really can’t remember a time prior to 1985 that I haven’t worked out,” said Dietrich.  “It’s always been something I love, so it’s easy to do it each day.”

Transition to AOK!

With the help of her good friend Kim, Dietrich decided that her passion for exercising could be more than just a hobby – it could be a profitable business as well.  In 2002, the two women decided to open their own fitness studio, AOK! Fitness.  Opening this studio meant making a commitment to offer the best in fitness, health, and wellness while offering a welcoming atmosphere to people of all shapes and sizes, ages, and fitness backgrounds.  This commitment hasn’t changed a bit since the opening day in 2002.

Evolution of AOK!

Since opening AOK! in 2002, the studio has grown from just 2,000 square feet to a staggering the outside of AOK! Fitness  8,400 square foot operation, boasting over 20 Certified Instructors and 84 group exercise classes every week.  In addition to their main facility, AOK! also contracts their classes out to local recreation centers, private companies and adult continuing education programs. In addition to co-owning the facility, Dietrich also plays a pivotal role at the studio by teaching several classes including Cardioboxing, Spinning, TRX Yoga, Barre Pilates, Resistance Training, PiYo, Weight Lifting and Step… just to name a few!

Community Involvement

AOK! Fitness doesn’t just aim to offer an inviting and welcoming atmosphere for their customers.  In addition, they also place an importance on giving back to their community of Strongsville, Ohio.  This coming September, AOK! Fitness is presenting Party In Pink, a huge party and Zumbathon benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  AOK! Fitness has been presenting this event for several years, and has raised well over $20,000 over the years.  It’s an event and a cause that Dietrich is very passionate about. One of her close friends and co-workers at Lincoln Moving and Storage is a breast cancer survivor as well as several AOK! clients and friends.

Bekins Connection

Annie Dietrich is the CFO of The Lincoln Moving & Storage Co. and proudly represents the third generation of family ownership and management of the moving business.   She shares this third generation distinction with her brother and three cousins.

Vegas, Baby! – Bekins Explores Las Vegas

Widely known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps.  Chock full of casinos, hotels, five-star restaurants and wildly popular entertainment shows, this city literally always has something going on.  While at first glance, Las Vegas might not seem like a family-friendly city, there is definitely an abundance of attractions for families as well as adults.  Read on for some information on top attractions and restaurants as well as Las Vegas moving companies that can help move you and your family to Vegas.

Las Vegas Restaurants

If you’re coming to Vegas for some delicious and delectable food, you’ll find that there really Lotus of Siam restaurantis no shortage of tantalizing tastes for your tongue.  A favorite of locals, visitors and foodies is Lotus of Siam.  This restaurant serves traditional (and delicious!) Thai fare. Don’t know what to order or aren’t familiar with Thai food? We suggest the drunken noodles.

If you’re looking to splurge in Vegas – and to be frank, where’s there a better place to splurge than Las Vegas? – look no further than Joël Robuchon. Located in the MGM Grand, this is opulence at its absolute best.  You can opt for the 16-course ‘Menu Degustation’ or if you’re not feeling quite that hungry, you’re Joel Robuchon Las Vegas restaurant interiorwelcome to order a la carte.  Patrons of the restaurant rave about the bread and dessert cart that come around throughout the meal as well as the impeccable service.

Las Vegas Entertainment Options

After you’ve sufficiently filled your stomach with delicious food, you’re ready to head to one of Vegas’ many shows.  While there are literally hundreds of entertainment options on the Strip and throughout the city, here are a few of Bekins’ favorites:

  • Fountains of Bellagio: Not only is this an impressive show, but it’s also one of the few freefountains of bellagio options in Las Vegas, and it happens frequently! During daytime hours – 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. – there is a show every half hour.  Once nighttime hits – 7:00 p.m.-12:00a.m. – the show occurs every 15 minutes.  Watch as the water leaps and bounds, choreographed in cue with familiar songs.
  • Celine Dion: There’s no doubt that Celine Dion is one of the most revered vocalists and entertainers that has ever lived.  With musical hits spanning several decades, Celine returns to Las Vegas with a more intimate show, performing some of her greatest hits as well as paying homage to some of the greatest songs and artists of all time. And yes, she does sing “My Heart Will Go On”.
  • Michael Jackson ONE Las Vegas showMichael Jackson ONE: Cirque Du Soleil presents this amazing tribute to the King of Pop and his music.  With the signature acrobatics that Cirque is known for, this show is a moving portrayal of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.





Of course, Las Vegas offers entertainment experiences that are second to none.  It goes without saying that there are hundreds more restaurants, entertainment venues, attractions, and casinos to explore.  So, why not move to Las Vegas and get a first-hand look at all the city has to offer?

Bekins Moving Companies

Luckily for you, Bekins Van Lines has a strong presence in the western part of the United States, with two Las Vegas full-service moving companies.  Founded in 1891, Bekins Van Lines is one of the oldest moving companies in the United States.

Las Vegas Moving Company 1: Bekins A-1 Movers located in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Moving Company 2: Blue Ribbon Relocation in North Las Vegas


Be sure to keep up with the rest of Bekins’ travels across the country, including visits to Denver, San Diego, Orlando and more.

Sunday Spotlight: Marathon Runner

There aren’t too many people in the world who can get excited about running 26.2 miles.  Those that can, extreme runners and athletes, are in a group all their own.  They enjoy knowing that they will push their bodies just about as far as they can go, fully embracing the fact that as soon as they finish one challenge, they’ll be back for more.

Meet Jake

a man on a bikeJake Green is one of these people.  Each week, he runs 50 miles, swims a mile and a half and bikes between 30 to 50 miles. When he’s training for a marathon or other athletic competition such as the Ironman, he says he will train even more.  What’s normal for Green seems unattainable to most people, but he says he wasn’t always this way.

Marathon Beginnings

If you knew Jake Green a few years ago, you would have no idea that he was a runner or extreme athlete, and that’s because he wasn’t.  It wasn’t until four years ago that Green even started running, completing his first marathon in the same year that he began running habitually. “I watched quite a few marathons before I started running them. I even worked at a man and a woman who just finished running a marathonseveral race finish lines and always thought it was something I could do. I saw some of the people who completed the marathons and other races, and I knew if they could do it, then I definitely could too,” Green said.

Boston Marathon Hopes

This realization was the instigator to what is now a defining characteristic of his life.  In the past four years, he’s run six marathons. Most years he only runs one race, but last year he ran three in an attempt to qualify for the highly revered Boston Marathon.  He missed the cut-off qualification by only four minutes, but he is persistent in saying that this is his year to qualify.  He has two marathons scheduled in the next few months, one in November and one in May, and it’s his goal to have a fast enough finish time to run in Boston.


Green isn’t only a marathon runner and Ironman competitor.  He’s also a volunteer firefighter and a certified EMT.  He completes weekly fire-training sessions to stay up-to-date a group of firefighterson new protocols and skills.  “As a volunteer firefighter, we learn by participating in hands-on trainings.  We have fire trailers that simulate a burning house,” Green explains.   When asked what sparked his interest in becoming a fire fighter he says, “It’s just one of those childhood dreams that most people don’t get to do. The chance came up so I decided to take it.”

Internal Motivation

There’s no doubt that Jake Green has both a knack for athletics and a passion for serving others.  It’s his inner motivation that has prompted him to continue. “I just like to better myself. I like the competition against myself. It doesn’t matter if someone runs faster than me. If I can improve my race, I like that.”

Bekins Van Lines

Jake Green is the General Manager at Dixie Moving and Storage, a Bekins agent located in Washington, Utah.  This is his first job in the moving industry.

Bekins University: College Moving Tips

It doesn’t matter how old you are.  It doesn’t matter if you’re moving across town or across the country.  Any type of move is a stressful event for everyone involved.  In the next few weeks, millions of American college students will experience the rite of passage known as Freshman Move-In Day.  For some students, this is a day for celebration.  For others, it’s a day filled with heavy emotions that go along with relocating, heightened by the fact that this is the first time that many have ever lived independently of their parents.  No matter the feelings involved, a move is a move which means it’s probably going to be stressful and not a whole lot of fun.

Earlier this week, Meredith Slavens, Online Content Development Specialist at Bekins Van Lines, shared her own personal freshman move-in story.  Today, she shares some tips she’s gathered from her many moves throughout college.

College move-in graphic

College Moving Tip #1:  Be picky about what you take

In college, your living spaces or dorm rooms are small.  Unfortunately, there’s just no way around it.  It’s better to take less than to take too much and not have room for it.  Be choosy as to what you bring. If you haven’t used it in a year, then chances are you won’t use it in college either.

College Moving Tip #2:  Organize Wisely

In college, I used four trusty plastic containers to store a lot of my stuff in, such as shoes, toiletries and craft supplies.  Not only did the containers help to contain a lot of my possessions, but it also made it easy when I went to move.  All of those loose items were already packed and organized in easy-to-carry containers.

Dorm Room Closet

My closet – that I shared with two people! The plastic containers saved my life.

College Moving Tip #3  Bring a fan

I got my tower fan as a high school graduation present, and still to this day I maintain that it was the best present I received.  In the summer months, your dorm room will be really hot – especially if you don’t have air conditioning. In the winter, your dorm room will still be really hot due to the heaters in your room. You can’t win in terms of temperature, so do yourself a favor and bring a high-quality fan with you. As a bonus, it will also drown out the noise of snoring from your roommate!

College Dorm Room

A view of my freshman dorm room, complete with not one, but TWO fans.

4.  Don’t splurge on furniture…yet

If your college experience is like mine, you’re going to have to move a lot in college.  There’s really no point in buying nice, expensive furniture at this point. It will just get banged up in the countless moves that you’ll inevitably have to make.  If you do have to buy furniture for a house, I suggest buying secondhand from a consignment store or donation center. There’s a time and a place to buy new furniture, but it isn’t while you’re in college.

5.  Coordinate with roommates beforehand

College is a time for the wonderful world of communal living.  While there are definitely pros and cons to living with a handful of other people, one of the major pros is that between each person, you and your roommates will probably have everything needed to furnish a dorm room or house.  The biggest obstacle in determining this though is communicating well enough to know that before moving in.  I suggest spending a few days during summer break creating and sharing a Google doc spreadsheet where each person can all write which items he or she has.  For even more organization, divide the spreadsheet up by room.  This helpful document will give your room or housemates a good idea of what still needs to be bought and what can be left behind.


What other college-related moving tips would you give to an incoming freshman? Let us know! Leave us a comment on our blog, Tweet us using the hashtag #BekinsU,  or write on our Facebook page.

Reasons to Move: College Move-in Day

I’ll never forget the feeling of packing up my whole life into just a few boxes.  As an 18 year-old who had never lived anywhere but New Castle, a small town in rural Indiana, I’d known all the same people since I was about five years old. I felt very secure in my life and also very comfortable living at home with my parents.  It’s not that I wasn’t excited about moving off to college – I definitely was – but more than anything, I was terrified of the unknown… and also stressed out about packing.

College Move-in Day

College move-in graphicFor someone who had never moved before, going through 18 years of possessions and trying to decide what should and shouldn’t go off to college was nothing short of a herculean task.  How could I not take my nightstand? What about my collection of Harry Potter books? Of course I need all of my shoes!   If I could give advice to anyone who is moving, it would be this: Simplicity is best. Pack less and buy what you don’t have.  This is especially true if you’re paying someone to help you move – the lighter the load, the cheaper it will be. If only I would have known this back then…

Moving In

As my parents and I made the 50 mile drive from New Castle to Butler University, a small liberal arts college located in the heart of Indianapolis, Ind., my stomach began churning with nerves.  As we pulled up to Butler, I saw the picturesque view of college, complete with  fraternity boys grilling hamburgers and hot dogs in the  front yard of the frat house situated right across from my dorm. As I walked up to my dorm room in Schwitzer Hall, I was struck by two things:

  1. This whole no air conditioning thing might be really unfortunate
  2.  This move is really happening.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of running up and down stairs, plugging in my mini fridge, connecting my laptop to the internet source, running to the store to buy forgotten items like power strips and plastic containers, making my bed with my brand new Twin XL sheets and unpacking all of those special touches that make a generic dorm room feel more like a home.

The College Experience

The rest of my freshman year of college progressed and before I knew it, I found myself College graduategraduating and receiving my diploma, physical proof of everything that had happened from that move-in day back in the fall of 2008 to graduation day in the spring of 2012.  That diploma represented not only all that I had learned in the classroom, but also all the lessons learned outside of the classroom. It represented the not one, not two, not even three, but eight moves that I made during college (moving tips to come – watch for the blog!)  It represented four years of growth and experiences that I will never and could never forget.

So, my advice: don’t fear, freshman. Move-in day is overwhelming, there’s no doubt about that. It’s an anxiety-induced 24 hours, but it’s just that – 24 hours. Before you know it all of those 24 hours will have strung together to make four years and you too will have that coveted diploma. Enjoy move-in day for all that it is and know that the best is yet to come.


Meredith Slavens is the Online Content Development Specialist at Bekins Van Lines. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Arts Administration from Butler University.  Meredith has moved ten times in the last five years, so she considers herself a bit of an expert when it comes to moving.  She enjoys helping others make their moving experience a little simpler by sharing some of her own personal moving tips.  Feel free to contact Meredith at 

Sunday Spotlight: Bill Ballantine’s Band

Who is Bill Ballantine?

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bill Ballantine is a successful salesman for Corlett Movers & Storage, an agent for our partner company Wheaton World Wide Moving.  After 5 p.m. though, Ballantine takes off his sales hat and transforms into a rock and roll phenom.  Night after night, he becomes what so many people dream of: the drummer for his rock band, The Clayton Brothers Band.

The Clayton Brothers Band logo

The Clayton Brothers Band

Formed in 2004, The Clayton Brothers Band came together because the five band mates wanted to have fun playing some of their favorite songs.  All of the members of the band proudly claim themselves as members of the Baby Boomer generation, so the band naturally gravitates more towards songs from the 50’s and 60’s.

Not Your Average Band

Make no mistake – this isn’t your average oldies band.  “When we pick our music, we always have and always will choose a more primitive approach to our song selection,” explains Ballantine.  “When we look for songs, we look for ones that have some attitude. We cover bands like The Kinks and Yardbirds.” This distinct musical style is what has put the Cleveland-based band on the local picture of the Clayton Brothers Band

Musical Style

The Clayton Brothers Band weren’t sure that they would be able to cultivate loyal listeners who liked the same music as them. Despite their uncertainty, the band has been able to garner quite a cult following with an audience that grows every year. “We play music that is special and loved by people of all ages.  Every night we play a show, we make a connection to our audience that can’t be matched.” It’s that connection to the audience that has kept the Clayton Brothers Band playing for all these years.The Clayton Brothers Band group photo

When asked what The Clayton Brothers Band’s goal was when playing a show, he said it’s very basic. “We want to have fun and we want to invite the audience to have fun, too.” Judging by the pictures, it looks like The Clayton Brothers Band don’t have any trouble achieving that goal.

Wheaton World Wide Moving Connection

Bill Ballantine has worked for Corlett Movers & Storage since 1986. Ballantine is a salesman at Corlett and has enjoyed his years both with Corlett and with Wheaton Van Lines. “Wheaton and Bekins are responsive from the top on down the line. As a sales person, knowing that your agency and your van line do what they say they are going to do is imperative and this company has always done that,” Ballantine said.

Be sure to catch up with any Sunday Spotlight’s that you might have missed.

Sunday Spotlight: Ralph Bingham’s Bekins-inspired car

Talk about someone who truly bleeds Bekins. Ralph Bingham has worked with Bekins Van Lines in some capacity since he was 24 years old and celebrated 36 years with the company at the beginning of August.  Bekins hasn’t just infiltrated his work life though.  Look inside Bingham’s garage and you will see something out of the ordinary: a refurbished 1929 Ford Model A Tudor, decked out in Bekins’ signature colors of green and white.

The Car

Talking to Bingham, you can hear the pride in his voice when he speaks not only about his life work at Bekins, but also of his hobby of restoring old cars, especially this Ford.  “I’ve had a lot of cars over the years, but none quite like the Ford. I started with this one and it means the most to me.” Refurbishing the car to its current condition was no easy task though.

The Beginning

At the age of 16, Bingham found the shell of the car at a local An old photo from a newspaper of an old car junkyard in his hometown.  There weren’t any seats, tires, or even an engine, but he was able to look past that and see what this car had the capability to be. He spent nearly four decades and almost $30,000 buying parts and laboring over the car, but to him, this car is priceless. “This car is in the same category as my wife and daughter – not for sale!”, Bingham says with a laugh.

Favorite Part

image of an old car When asked one of his favorite parts about the car, he doesn’t hesitate when he says it’s driving it up and down the freeway.  “I get lots of thumbs up and lots of high fives.  I have a lot of people out there who think they’re friends with me because I’ve got a cool car.” For a car enthusiast like himself, this automobile is truly his pride and joy.

Why Bekins?

It’s employee loyalty at its finest when someone will deck out their personal belongings to replicate the brand image of their employer.  For Bingham though, there was never a question as to whom or what he would dedicate this automobile to. “To me, I always had a mental picture of this car as being a representation of my career. I’ve never worked for an old car in front of a Bekins truck anyone else but Bekins. It was pretty automatic.” No matter where Bingham goes, he serves as a visual representation of not only Bekins Van Lines, but also of his storied career and love for the company as well.

Bekins History

Ralph Bingham has always been an agent-owner and a driver while at Bekins.  Never a fan of office work, he always hired people to manage the day-to-day operations of the business while he maintained the position of a driver. He spent and still spends most of his days delivering loads and shipments and interacting with the customers, cementing himself as the face of his agency, Dixie Moving & Storage. A self-declared people person, Bingham enjoys knowing that every day will be different and that he’ll spend his days talking and communicating with the people his agency serves. I can bet that he tells his customers about his Bekins-inspired Ford Model A, too.

More Sunday Spotlights

Like what you read? Bekins employees are a talented and passionate bunch. Make sure you catch up on the rest of Bekins’ Sunday Spotlights. 

Denver: Mile High, Mountains and Moving Companies

The city of Denver is widely known for its breathtaking beauty with clear views of the Rocky Mountains from its downtown skyline. Many people who move to Denver do so because of the plethora of outdoor activities that the city and surrounding area offer, including hiking, climbing, swimming, skiing and snowboarding… just to name a few.  Bekins is out to explore some of the best attractions, venues and restaurants that Denver offers.  We’ll also highlight two Denver moving companies who have the ability to get you to Denver faster than you can say Mile High City!

Outdoor Attractions

  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Red Rocks is one of the most widely known concert venues in the U.S., but did you know this venue houses way more than just a stage? The whole complex boasts hiking and biking trails as well as yoga, movies, and of course, world-class concerts.  Voted by Rolling Stone Magazine as the Best US Amphitheatre, this is one attraction you won’t want to miss.

    Red Rocks in Denver

    Red Rocks Amphitheatre

  • Winter Park Resort: If you’re visiting Denver in the winter months and wanting to do some serious skiing, then look no further than Winter Park Resort.  There are over 3,000 acres of skiable land good for any skill level and other activities such as snow tubing for those who aren’t quite as adventurous.  With great deals on lodging all year round, you can combine your accommodations with your entertainment.

Chow Down

  • Root Down: A local Denver favorite, Root Down prides itself on serving as much organic and locally produced food as possible.  Fans of the restaurant have embraced their Root Down in Denverattitude and suggest that you either order the Sweet Potato Fries with Curry-Lime Yogurt or make it in time for brunch.
  • Vesta Dipping Grill: If you’re a fan of dipping sauces, then you can’t miss Vesta Dipping Grill.  With over 20 choices to choose from, each meal is Vesta Dipping Grill logoaccompanied by three of the dipping sauces.  If desserts are more your calling, then you must try the sticky toffee pudding. Guess what! Even the desserts come with dipping sauces too!
  • Lola Denver: If Mexican food is your true calling, then a dinner at Lola’s needs to be in the books. Fans of the restaurant rave about the guacamole, but they also boast a ceviche bar, and a wide variety of favorites such has enchiladas, carnitas and carne asada.

Denver Moving Companies

This blog post could go on for days if we mentioned every attraction, restaurant and venue that Denver has, but hopefully this has given you a taste of what the city can offer. And as you can see, it offers a lot.  If you’re contemplating a move to the Mile High City, look no further than these two Denver moving companies that fall under the Bekins umbrella of agents.

This Is Moving: America

Follow along with Bekins as we continue our trek across America. Have you read our other blog posts? We’ve visited San Diego, Orlando, Cleveland, and Washington D.C.

This Is Moving: America license plate

Sunday Spotlight: Aidan’s Book Corner

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

The death of a loved one is arguably one of the most difficult situations a person can ever encounter.  When the loved one is a child, it becomes almost incomprehensibly difficult.  Grab a box of tissues and read on about the work of corporate employee Maggie Hist and the inspiration behind Aidan’s Book Corner.

Aidan’s Story

On February 1, 2010, Maggie Hist’s life completely changed forever.  She gave birth to her firstMaggie Hist's quote child prematurely – a baby boy named Aidan.  Giving birth to a premature baby comes with a whole host of complications and Maggie coped by reading books to her infant son.  “Reading to Aidan was the only thing that made my husband and I feel normal in a not normal situation,” remembers Hist.  “Goodnight Moon was our favorite book.  I read it while I was pregnant and we read it in the hospital.  It was our special book.”

Baby Aidan Hist lived in Community North’s NICU in Indianapolis, Ind. for eight days before he passed away.  For Hist and her family, this event began a lifelong journey of coping, accepting, and starting the long and difficult healing process that goes with losing a loved one.

The Inception of Aidan’s Book Corner

Aidan's Book Corner logoHist always knew she wanted to do something to honor her son’s memory.  Remembering the importance of books not only during her pregnancy but also during their time in the hospital, she decided she wanted to use reading books as a way to remember her son.  In the spring of 2012, Hist, with the help of a Bereavement Coordinator at Community North Hospital, began the process of creating what is now known as Aidan’s Book Corner.   The book corner collects new books to distribute and donate to families with babies staying in Community North’s NICU.  On average, almost 800 babies stay in Community Health’s NICU every year, and Hist prides herself on providing a new book for each family.  “It seems like such a simple thing, a book, but you wouldn’t believe how much comfort that can bring a struggling family,” Hist says.


Aidan’s Book Corner may have started off small, but since its beginnings, it has grown tremendously thanks in large part to the generosity of the Barnes and Noble bookstores in Noblesville and Carmel, Ind.  The bookstores chose Aidan’s Book Corner to be the recipient of their holiday book drive.  The book drive collected nearly 2,000 brand new books that were all given to Maggie Hist and her husbandHist’s organization.  In addition to the Barnes and Noble’s donation, Hist and her family also started “National Aidan’s Book Corner Day” to celebrate Aidan’s birthday.  Each year on February 1st, friends, family, and the general public is welcome to donate a new book to either Community North’s NICU or their own local NICU in honor of baby Aidan.  Hist expects that the book corner will only continue to grow with time, a thought that brings herself and her family great joy.

Wheaton History

Maggie Hist has been working with Bekins Van Lines for six years, always in the Government Services Department as a DP3 Move Coordinator.  She loves the family atmosphere and culture at Bekins and said that even after losing Aidan, she never felt alone at work.

Hist and her husband have a two year old son named Lucas and are expecting their third child, a girl, in less than a month.  In addition to working with Bekins, taking care of her family, and heading up Aidan’s Book Corner, Hist is part of the Grief Support Team at Community North.  She says her new passion is helping out other families who have experienced a loss similar to hers.  By working with Grief Support and operating Aidan’s Book Corner, she is able to keep her son’s memory alive.

Be sure to keep up with the rest of Bekins’ Sunday Spotlights.