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Archives for November 2013

Winter Driving Tips – Staying Safe in the Snow

We experience all four seasons in Wisconsin. In fact, we experience mother nature in all her glory–all year round–from the beautiful autumn palette to the intricate, unique pattern of each snow flake. And we see a lot of those. Snowflakes that is. Our winter seasons range from mild to extreme temperatures.  Some years we see sub-zero temps with even colder wind-chill factors.

As mid-westerners, we might feel like pros when driving on snow-covered roads but a few driving tips can refresh even the best memory.

Take a look at some of these helpful winter driving tips.

  1. Before the first snow storm of the year hits us, it is best to get your car tuned up so it is ready for the winter.
    • Change the oil.
    • Check the tire pressure and inflate to proper winter levels.
    • Check windshield wipers to ensure proper functioning.
  2. Ideally, when the roads are dangerous to drive on in the winter, it would be best to stay off of them until they have been plowed. If you must venture out during a heavy snowfall, remember to:
    • Allow yourself some extra time to reach your destination safely.
    • Never speed in the snow, even if you are running late. It is more important for you to arrive to your destination safely.
    • When making a stop, gently press the brake pedal with your foot to help avoid skidding or sliding.
    • If the tires lock up and the car begins to swerve, gently release pressure from the brakes.
    • Do not panic and slam your foot on the brake because that will only cause the car to slide out of control.
    • Keep sandbags in the trunk of the car. This will help keep the back of the car weighed down and prevents sliding.
  3. Always make sure your car is visible to other drivers.
    • Keep your headlights and windshield free of ice or snow. It will help you see oncoming traffic and make you visible to them.
  4. If you get stuck in a snow bank or high snow drifts
    • Do not try to get out by spinning the tires. This can cause you to become even more stuck.
    • Turn the wheels from side to side to help clear some of the snow away from the tires.
    • If there is a shovel handy, try to remove some of the snow from the tires and underneath the car.
  5. In case of an emergency, it is smart to keep some equipment in your car at all times. In the winter, it is necessary to keep;
    • A spare tire
    • A jack
    • A blanket
    • Jumper cables
    • Tow and tire chains
    • A bag of salt
    • A tool kit
  6. Some more essential tools or a “survival kit” include:
    • A flashlight that works
    • Extra batteries
    • An ice scrapper and snow brush
    • Exterior windshield cleaner
    • Spare gloves.

We never know exactly what Wisconsin’s winter weather will bring, but it is not uncommon for us to have over a foot of snow and below zero temperatures. As pretty as the snow is, it can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Is your car ready for what winter is willing to throw at us? With it on the way, it is best to be prepared. Get your car winterized and remember these tips when driving in the snow. Just some friendly winter driving tips from our vehicle donations. team.

Vietnam Veterans of America Visit Rawhide

A unique group visited Rawhide’s Starr Academy recently to give our students a presentation they won’t soon forget. This group was the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 351 out of Appleton, WI.

The Vietnam Veterans of America group has presented their fascinating traveling display for over twenty years. They present an interesting, extensive display of Vietnam War memorabilia to many of the high schools in the Fox Valley. This was the first time the group visited Rawhide to share their traveling display and personal experiences from the Vietnam War. Our students were very much enthused to be able to attend their presentation.

The presentation was very visual, as it allowed our students to walk around and view authentic pieces of equipment and memorabilia of the Vietnam War. According to Mike Weaver, President of Chapter 351, their chapter’s traveling display is one of the best collections in the Midwest. The display consists of 75 feet of Vietnam War memorabilia. Some things found in their collection are grenades, bullets, guns, knives, uniforms, camouflage, helmets, and photos of soldiers. Weaver explained that it has taken about twenty five years for the chapter to collect all of the things they have to offer in their display. After the interactive part of the presentation, the Veterans sat down and had a question and answer session.

The Vietnam presentation was very effective for both our students and the Veterans. It was an important assembly because it gave our students a hands-on learning experience of an important historical event. The visual display and personal stories of what Vietnam Veterans had to endure during the war makes more of an impact on students because it shows cold, hard reality of war. It gave students the opportunity to empathize with the heroes that fought for our country and thank them for their services. It also helps veterans heal, as they are able to vocally share the things they experienced in the war, explained Weaver.

The Vietnam Veterans’ presentation has other positive impacts on our students as well. Not only do they get the experience to learn about a historical event from those who have experienced it themselves, but they get to experience something that other public schools get to. With this presentation, “Our students feel like they are students again,” explains Tony, one of our instructors at Starr Academy.

Our staff and students were very pleased to have the Vietnam Veterans of America come to Rawhide and share their display and stories. Our students were extremely engaged in the presentation and provided a great amount of questions for our quests. Our staff was grateful to have the Vietnam Veterans here at Rawhide and welcomes them back at any time, especially for our Thank a Vet Day that takes place every May.

View the Vietnam War display in the video below.



Loving Confrontation – Part of House Parents Job

Meet Roger and Deb Tews, the newest house parents in the Gillespie House. They believe, as part of a house parents job, they can help change the guys with loving confrontation. Roger and Deb stress with their house staff that speaking the truth in love is the best way to create a healthy home environment. The guys who come to Rawhide need to hear the truth, but that does not mean it has to be harsh and unjust. Telling the guys the truth when they need to hear it with love and kindness can only impact the guy’s life positively and help them overcome their weaknesses. They consider it part of their house parents job.

“Being a houseparent here at Rawhide is not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” Roger says. The duties of a house mother and house father are very extensive and time consuming but also very rewarding.  Deb expressed how much fun they are having being houseparents to all of the guys who temporarily live with them in the Gillespie House.

Deb confessed her favorite part about being a housemother is being able to be the loving mother figure to the guys. Having the opportunity “to be able to be with the guys and talk to them about their struggles and to love them like a mom is an amazing feeling.” Along with being a mom Deb also has responsibilities like making sure the guys get correct medications, scheduling doctors’ appointments, and making sure the guys have the necessities. Deb also helps her husband Roger with some of the administrative duties. Roger manages the house staff to make sure that the house is running properly and is a father figure to the guys. “Being a loving authority figure that listens to them but speaks truth to them is only part of my job,” Roger explains.

He continues “The biggest thing in the midst of all the details and scheduling is remembering that the most important thing you are training is the heart. Don’t lose sight of the mission to impact their hearts.” Impacting the heart is the reason why they follow their motto of loving confrontation. Most of the guys who come to Rawhide have had a lack of family support or normal family interaction. The idea of loving confrontation shows the guys that they are here because someone loves them and wants them to succeed in life.

Roger and Deb love watching how God works in a guy’s life and how much they grow during their time here. It is the most rewarding part of being houseparents. “Rawhide changes everyone, not just the guys who come here,” stated Deb as she expressed how much Roger and her have changed over the time period they have worked here. They both are so thankful to be working at Rawhide and believe that this is their life’s work. “This is the ultimate job. We can’t think of any other job we would like to do other than this. Rawhide changes everyone; this is a special place it is unique. God’s work here is so big, it is amazing.”