Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Schwan people make a difference

May 10, 2016 — For many years, we have celebrated the individuals within our company who seize opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.

Internally, we’ve called them our “Schwan heroes” and have documented their heroics within our company newsletters. Our team members have had opportunities through the years to help individuals through many types of situations, whether it’s a property fire, medical emergency, motor-vehicle accident or helping during a natural disaster.

We cannot know how many of these stories remain untold, but we have documented approximately 140 heroic tales in our internal newsletters since 2001. Here are just a few:

Help from the snow
Josh Balin, who works out of Utah, told us this amazing story back in 2009 about Route Sales Rep Joe Martin: “So Joe is running his route … and while on his way to the next stop, he passes a house and notices what appear to be two little hands sticking out of the snow. So, of course, he pulls over and runs to the house. Sure enough, buried in a foot of snow is a 90-year-old lady on her back with just her hands sticking out of the snow.” The elderly lady said she was trying to get to her mailbox, fell and could not get up when it started snowing. Joe found the woman, helped her get out of the snow, made sure she was alright and helped her into the house. After that, he fetched her newspaper and got her groceries out of her car and put them away for her.

Roadside assistance
A woman whose car was hit by a slab of ice in Missouri wrote us back in 2007 to thank Route Sales Rep John Tiemann, who works out of our facility in Farmington, Missouri. Here’s what she said: “On my way to work, a 4-foot sheet of ice slid off an oncoming trailer of a diesel truck and hit my Honda Civic — going through the windshield of my car. One of your drivers stopped, called 911 and assisted me until an EMT could arrive. He helped me keep calm, called my family and gave me all the paper towels he had for my head wound. He even called me to check on me a few days later.”

Dousing a house fire
Back in 2011, Route Sales Rep Charles Root was recognized by local fire officials and featured in the Oregonian after spotting a small fire burning on the deck of a two-bedroom house. At first, he thought the fire was coming from a burn bin, but he decided to investigate. He found a fire about the size of a campfire on the deck. He then doused the fire with a garden hose and asked a neighbor to call 911. He was credited by emergency officials with saving the house. Charles would later transfer to our location in Hettinger, North Dakota.

A warm cab on a cold night
A customer wrote in 2013 to praise the efforts of Route Sales Rep Mark Kittl, who works at our location in Mahomet, Illinois. Mark had helped them after an accident in wintery conditions. Here’s an excerpt from the letter: “My boyfriend of 10 years and I were driving home on I-74 from visiting my family in Virginia. We had driven for 14 hours through rain and snow and were only two exits away when we hit an ice patch and lost control of our truck, spinning 360 degrees and smashing into the median before rolling and landing upside down on the highway. I can honestly say both of us thought we were going to die. We were in shock as we crawled through the broken glass and emerged from the truck to find out that we were both alive and relatively OK. I cannot tell you how long we stood there waiting for help as multiple cars passed us by. We were scared, shaken and shivering in the dark and cold night, standing on the side of the highway shivering, when Mark pulled over with his Schwan truck to offer his help. He let us in the cab to warm up while we waited for the police to arrive. … He stayed until we were safely in the ambulance before leaving to finish his deliveries. His willingness to show such compassion to perfect strangers on an icy highway in the middle of the night touched us both so deeply.”

In the nick of time
In 2015, team members in Springfield, Illinois, recognized Route Sales Rep Wesley Boehl, who had the awareness to help a pedestrian. A person called to report that he had seen Wesley rush over and pull a little girl out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was distracted and Wesley noticed this instantly and jumped to action. Amazingly enough, the person who called was actually the distracted driver.

A helping hand in the winter cold
A customer wrote recently to send their appreciation for Tabitha Simmons, one of our quality engineers. During a winter snow, the customer wrote that they had slid across the road and hit a metal barrier. The customer said Tabitha, even though she had her family with her, stopped to help knowing that it would have been difficult for emergency crews to reach the accident location in heavy traffic. “She drove me home and called me to make sure I was OK. She did not have to help,” the individual said. “Thank you for employing such caring people.”

At The Schwan Food Company, we strive to live by our corporate values, which include “integrity” and “helping one another.” Thanks goes out to all of our “Schwan heroes” for living by these values and caring enough to make a huge difference in people’s lives.

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