Christmas at Rawhide
Schnieder employees share Christmas
By Scott Bellile
The teens seeking direction from Rawhide Boys Ranch made unfortunate decisions in their pasts, but volunteers from a transportation company believe that should not cost them a Christmas celebration.
Staff with Green Bay-based Schneider National “adopted” Rawhide students for the sixth year, dropping in on Dec. 20 to provide gifts for under their trees. They personally shopped for the gifts and dropped them off days before Christmas.
Employees hauled in wrapped and unwrapped presents into a boardroom inside the train station. Tables filled up with basketballs, soccer balls, golf tees, pool cues, table tennis paddles, board games, clothing, flip-flops, school supplies, candy, hygiene items and various other gifts.
None of the boys were in attendance because they were set to unwrap their surprises at their on-site group homes later on.
Scott Sawinkski, public relations manager for Rawhide, said 35 boys live throughout six group homes on campus. Those who were recently transferred or discharged also get included in on the celebration. Everyone prepares his own wish list.
“For some of these boys it could be their very first Christmas and that family time they maybe didn’t have in their challenging home upbringing,” Sawinski said.
Schneider gives the house parents a present as well, such as a gift certificate for a date night, Sawinski said.
Jessica Ferby, a driver recruiter for Schneider, said the annual program receives an outpouring of support from workers. The company offers multiple charitable giving opportunities for staff during Christmastime, but some choose to hold out for Rawhide.
Newly installed Rawhide CEO Alan Loux said it was unbelievable to witness the “outpouring of love” from Schneider during his first adopt-a-student experience.
“If you think about it, these boys are a lot of times away from their families during Christmas – a lot of us have the benefit of being close to family and friends during the holidays – and this makes it extra special,” Loux said. “So on behalf of Rawhide and the boys, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are making a real difference and these boys that are here for this Christmas will remember this for the rest of their lives.”