How many longest drive contests have you participated in?
I’ve been doing Long Drive competitions since 2008 and participate in 4-8 events a year. It has been a great hobby for me.
When did you start playing golf?
I started playing golf when I was 13 and was immediately hooked to the game.
How did you get involved in longest drive contests?
Around Christmas in 2007 my sister and I watched the Re/Max World Long Drive on ESPN. As I laughed at the guys yelling at their golf balls I told her it looked easy. My sister, being the motivator and supporter she is, signed me up that following spring. I soon realized it wasn’t that easy to not yell at your golf ball.
Can you talk a little bit about your number 2 ranking at the 2011 Re/Max World Long Drive Championship?
2011 was a very successful year for me. My confidence was built up from finishing in top 5 for 5 of the 6 events I did prior to the World Finals. As the 2011 World Finals came and went, I ended up just short of my goal of being #1 in the world. My longest ball during the World Finals was 437 yards. Although I’ve still been unsuccessful of winning the Super Bowl of Long Drive, I’m happy my ranking hasn’t fallen out of the top 10.
What other tournaments/contests have you participated in?
I don’t really golf as much as I did before so outside of Long Drive my participation is minimal.
There have been a few opportunities to use your skills to give back – can you talk a little bit about that?
The golf course is a great place to host charity events. I’ve been able to participate in a few. I’m normally on the tee box of a par 5 or long par 4 and anyone that has golfed before knows distance makes the game that much more difficult. My job is to be the golfer’s therapist and ease the stress by making what was a long par 4 into a putt for eagle.
Ben Tua’one, is an Operations Manager for OnTrac in Salt Lake City, UT.
OnTrac is proud to support St. Vincent de Paul in their efforts to help Arizona's hungry families this holiday season.
For the sixth year in a row, St. Vincent de Paul will team up with KNIX's morning show team, Ben and Matt, to host the Million Can Crusade.
The Crusade, which will run November 1 – 27, is an effort to collect one million cans of non-perishable food items for St. Vincent de Paul.
"Sometimes people are overwhelmed by the need in our community," Saint Vincent de Paul Executive Director Steve Zabilski said. "But every donation makes a difference. To a struggling family, an emergency food box can go a long way to stretch their household budget so that when all the bills are paid, they can still put food on the table."
OnTrac will be sponsoring 250 boxes across the state of Arizona. The boxes will be placed in 119 Safeway stores throughout the Valley.
"We are truly grateful to be part of the Million Can Crusade for the third year in a row," OnTrac Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Laura Peterson said. "They are a dedicated organization and make a real difference in the community. We are happy to be able to help."
The Million Can Crusade Kick-Off event was held Friday, November 1, at Safeway store #2644, located at 1855 N Power Rd in Mesa, Arizona, 85207.
In addition to OnTrac, Safeway and Desert Schools Federal Credit Union locations across the state are participating. Donations of canned foods can be dropped off at Safeway locations, while monetary donations can be made at both Safeway and Desert Schools.
The food donated will help fill the shelves of St. Vincent de Paul's network of over 80 parish-based food pantries in central and northern Arizona. Last year, food pantry volunteers delivered nearly 400,000 food boxes to hungry families.
About the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and providing others with the opportunity to serve. The Phoenix Diocesan Council has been assisting central and northern Arizona families since 1946. Programs include services for the homeless, medical and dental care for the working poor, charity dining rooms, thrift stores, a transitional housing shelter and general assistance for individuals in need. For more information about St. Vincent de Paul, please visit www.stvincentdepaul.net.
OnTrac is proud to support local Brownie Girl Scouts Troop 2870 of Orange County, California in their efforts to help
Soles for Souls
In May, Brownie Girl Scouts Troop 2870 decided to do a community service project. The girls had been learning about connecting with their community and taking action to help others. After finding out that millions of children and adults worldwide need shoes, and that not having shoes can lead to serious problems, the girls decided to hold a shoe drive with Soles for Souls.
Soles for Souls is a group working to help people around the world who desperately need shoes. The group provides disaster relief, creates micro-enterprise, and donates shoes to orphanages and homeless shelters.
The girls set a goal of collecting 150 pairs of shoes from friends, family, neighbors, and community members. They exceeded their goal by collecting over 200 pairs of shoes for Soles for Souls! Because they are a non-profit organization dedicated to using their funds to alleviate the effects of poverty, Soles for Souls asks its shoe drive partners to cover the cost of shipping the shoes to their warehouses.
“We knew this could get expensive, as well as challenging for us logistically,” said Leslie Wilson, Troop 2870 Leader. “We contacted a national shipping logistics company for help, and they told us we would have to find pallets, transport the boxes to a business location, load the boxes on the truck ourselves, and that it would cost several hundred dollars.”
That's where OnTrac came in.
“I decided to call OnTrac, because I personally get many packages delivered by them, and they are always friendly, professional, and helpful,” states Wilson. “Plus I knew they worked in the West, where both our Troop and the Soles for Souls warehouse are located.”
“The customer service representative I called for prices and shipping options was very nice and asked if he could forward my information to another department at OnTrac that might be able to help us. In a very short time I heard back from Jessica Schembri from OnTrac's Marketing department. Incredibly, OnTrac offered to ship all of our shoes to the Soles for Souls warehouse at no charge!” Wilson exclaims.
“Jessica also helped us coordinate all the labeling and pickup of our boxes. In the end, the Brownies loaded up 15 large boxes with over 200 pairs of shoes,” Wilson remarks. “OnTrac made it so easy and convenient for us, and by covering the shipping charges, the Troop now has money left to do another service project!”
Brownie Troop 2870 is deeply grateful to everyone at OnTrac who helped make our charity shoe drive a huge success.
OnTrac was thrilled to be able to help and happy to have assisted Brownie Girl Scout Troop 2870 in their successful charitable efforts.
For more information on Soles for Souls organization, visit http://soles4souls.org/photos.
To some people, Donna Pettigrew is the woman in charge of the Events and Community Outreach Program for the Colorado Rush Soccer Club, a non-profit organization established to provide unparalleled personal growth.
She spends her days working to gather gently used soccer gear to send overseas, helping the less fortunate and instilling values into the Littleton youth.
To OnTrac's General Manager in Denver, Roy Yurt, she is an inspiration, a friend and someone worth lending a hand for.
"I worked with Donna a few years ago when the REACH program was sending soccer gear to Iraq," Yurt said. "This year, they are sending soccer gear to Africa. It’s a really great cause, and I’m happy to be a part of it."
Pettigrew started building the REACH program in 2003. After just one year, REACH was able to deliver soccer gear to 10 third-world countries and her cause aired on Good Morning America. REACH grew fast; it’s still growing and that’s due to the effort of Pettigrew and her team.
"I love pulling people together for a common cause," she said. "When we are building and improving relationships in other countries—and we are able to have all of our partners build relationships with each other, the job gets done and it gets done well."
OnTrac is proud to be a part of this noble effort. As a 100 percent for-charity effort, OnTrac has offered its vehicles to help Donna and REACH get gear from point A, being the Rush REACH facility storage in GarageTown, to point B—the US Navy.
"OnTrac, and Roy, have always been there," Pettigrew said. "Anytime I call him and ask if he can help—we have an issue getting from point A to point B—he always steps up."
It is the vision, and the support of that vision, that enables the REACH program to remain successful. "Roy has always supported our efforts," Pettigrew said. "He believes in what we are doing, and he has proved it."
OnTrac is getting ready to do two more pickups of 80-100 boxes. We are proud to be able to support Pettigrew and the Colorado Rush in their endeavours.
About the program:
Rush Equipment Assisting Children (R.E.A.C.H.) is a program that collects used or unwanted soccer equipment from Rush and other community members to donate to underprivileged children throughout the world. From tsunami victims, to Russian orphans, to the children of war torn Iraq, all benefit from the generous donations of Rush soccer and its members.
The Colorado Rush is always looking for more donations, either through cash or slightly used soccer equipment. Visit http://www.coloradorush.com/index.php/reach.
Not many people can say they’ve participated in one of golf’s longest-drive contests—even fewer, it would seem, possess the ability to claim a world-wide ranking in the sport.
Ben Tua’one, Operations Manager for OnTrac in Salt Lake City, can do both.
Not only is he an active participant, but last year, Tua’one was ranked number two in the world for his 388 yard longest drive at the 2011 Remax World Long Drive Championship.
Though he started playing golf when he was 13, winning player of the year in the Utah Junior Golf Association, the sport hasn’t always been a constant for him.
“I didn’t play much after high school,” he said. “It wasn’t until I started caddying for my cousins, who eventually turned professional, that I really got back into it.”
Not long after that, his sister signed him up for the longest drive competition at the Diamond in the Desert Classic in 2009—an event he won, reaffirming his talent and reestablishing his love for the game.
He went on to record his longest drive of 468 yards at the 2010 Soderby International, and now spends his time helping people work on their game, while he improves his own.
Tua’one’s skills were well received at the Festival of Roses Golf Tournament in Draper, Utah last week, an event in which OnTrac sponsored the Longest Drive Hole, and gave tournament participants the ability to donate money for the opportunity to have Tua’one drive the ball for them.
“All of the participants in the tournament had an opportunity to use a drive from one of the world’s longest golf ball driving competitors,” Larry Hardie, OnTrac Salt Lake City Account Executive said. “These drives were generally in the 360 to 400 yard range and would be equal to two or three strokes for the average golfer. This demonstration received a lot of positive feedback from the tournament organizers and they have already asked him to come back next year. With Ben’s participation, the golfing event created great awareness for OnTrac among the participants in the tournament.”
All proceeds and donations raised were given to charity.
“The OnTrac hole with Ben was a great addition to our golf tournament,” Golf Committee Chair, Paul Keyser said. “Everyone I spoke with raved about his tremendous drives and what a genuinely nice person he is. We would definitely welcome Ben back again and again."
Oral hygiene isn’t something most of us have to think twice about. We know brushing our teeth is important—it’s something we’ve been doing since we were young.
This part of our routine is easy, and we live in a society that makes necessary tools like toothpaste and toothbrushes readily available.
But what about the areas that can’t afford electric tooth brushes and don’t have the option to choose from ten different flavors of toothpaste?
What about the kids who grow up without the education, or knowledge, of how important oral hygiene really is?
That’s where the Miracle Corners of the World, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth to become positive agents of change in their community, and Henry Schein, a worldwide distributor of medical, dental, and veterinary supplies and equipment, come in.
Their partnership has enabled children and adults in Africa to have access to oral healthcare, performed by trained professionals.
And on Tuesday, April 3rd, MCW will host their 8th Annual Gala to honor individuals who embody their work.
Among the many speakers and recipients, MCW will recognize the successful installation of dental laboratory equipment at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) School of Dentistry in Tanzania.
OnTrac has the privilege of sponsoring MCW and Henry Schein at the Gala and supports their efforts to empower youth for positive change around the world.
In conjunction with their “Local Change through Global Exchange” philosophy, MCW has made it a point to achieve lasting oral health improvement, and with the support of over 30 dental laboratory manufacturers, they have been able to employ a necessary combination of resources and expertise.
Following their upgrade project at the MUHAS in Dar es Salaam, MCW teamed up again with Industry Partners to embark on a joint project that would re-equip the Dental Clinic at the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
The clinic was officially opened on March 13.
On any other morning the slight breeze wouldn’t have mattered.
This is Arizona and even in the early morning hours residents appreciate the refreshing reminder that cooler weather is on the way.
But on this day, it was a little different.
November 1 marked the kickoff of KNIX and St. Vincent de Paul’s Million Can Crusade—an effort that invited customers at over 100 Safeway stores to donate nonperishable food items to the needy during the holiday season.
Vendors started arriving around 4am— radio DJ’s set up their booth, news stations unpacked their cameras, OnTrac pitched its tent, and the regulars made their coffee runs.
But there was another new sight off in the distance.
Silhouetted against a brilliant backdrop of purples and oranges was a man standing in the grated basket of a crane.
Hoisted ten stories above the ground, KNIX’s “Barrel Boy” gripped the rail of the basket and made his best effort not to move.
This would be his spot until KNIX and St. Vincent de Paul raised 10,000 cans.
As he stood there, looking out over the city, the combined efforts of local customers, and country music singers Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, and Dierks Bentley donation of 4,000 cans, Barrel Boy was down before noon.
That’s when OnTrac really got involved.
We worked with 11 Safeway Stores this year to pickup and deliver 84 boxes full of supplies to the St. Vincent de Paul facility on December 21, free of charge.
“Although I know it was more, helping just one family is worth the effort,” David Forward, General Manager of the Phoenix Facility, said. “We realize that the small efforts we put forth goes farther than we can imagine for people in need. Both the driver and I have enjoyed being of service to Saint Vincent de Paul.”
The OnTrac sponsored boxes have made their way to several businesses and schools, and Saint Vincent de Paul continues to reuse them for various food drives.
“For me it serves as a reminder of the generous support the OnTrac family has provided to St Vincent de Paul, and especially the people we serve,” Jamie Bethune, Drive Coordinator, said.
For most of us, Christmas is a vacation, a holiday getaway from the hustle and bustle of the work week, a chance to catch up with the family, open presents, and create memories.
It’s a time for traditions, lights, snowmen, and holiday cheer— a celebration of all we have accomplished and an escape before ringing in a new year.
For the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, it’s a little different.
With the holidays, so too comes a three month initiative for their Toys for Tots program and a promise to collect new, unwrapped toys to distribute as Christmas gifts to needy children.
For them, the holidays aren’t always a vacation, but they are a chance to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas.
The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters, and this year, OnTrac is helping out.
Leslie Hodges, General Manager of OnTrac in the Los Angeles facility, has teamed up with her property manager and other corporate residents in the neighborhood to participate in this year’s program.
“I really think it is a good idea for a company to give back to the community,” she said. “We can make a big impact by participating in the efforts for an organization like Toys for Tots.”
Pictured (Left to Right): Randy Kelch, Ann Nelson, Leslie Hodges, and Jenifer Barnes.
In addition to Toys for Tots, Hodges has worked with St. Jude’s Foundation, United Way, AIDS Ride LA, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation— organizations that she holds close to her heart.
“It makes me feel like I can make a difference for someone who needs help,” she said. “The organizations that I have participated in have a personal meaning. I volunteered for them because I know someone who has suffered. I just know someone, in some way, is going to benefit from these causes— so if I can help, I will.”
The Toys for Tots box at the Los Angeles facility has already been filled up and was retrieved by the USMC Reserve December 9.
OnTrac Driver Luis Neitro.
OnTrac employees and customers partner to help wildfire victims.
Arizona's Wallow fire has burned over 500,000 acres and is now the largest wildfire in the state's history. Still not completely contained, the blaze has destroyed homes, paralyzed communities, and, according to experts, will cost nearly half a billion dollars in suppression and restoration. Key relief agencies are already on site, but now need additional supplies to help the affected families.
OnTrac reached out to the United Food Bank for a list of the most needed items and, together with our Arizona customers and employees, were able to quickly collect nearly half a ton of supplies. "Food, the most basic need for all of us, will be a second thought when people are trying to repair damage to their homes, pay bills and survive…" says Rayna Palmer, United Food Bank Chief Operations Officer. "(it) is going to be a vital piece to the wellbeing of the residents."
It's never too late to get involved. Relief organizations will be providing aid well after the fire is extinguished, and are always in need of charity donations and volunteers:
United Food Bank
Arizona Red Cross (monetary donations only, please)
Arizona Humane Society
Thank you to all who participated in our collection. Your donation will make a difference!
For more on the Wallow fire, click here.
Holidays are a great time to make a difference by giving back to the community. Charities do more than you can imagine, from “Habitat for Humanity” who builds homes for families in need to “Heifer International” which gives livestock that provides food and income to international villages. These non-profit organizations do so much to help the less fortunate, but they cannot do it alone.
Since 2004, OnTrac has been hosting a food and clothing drive for the Center for Hope in Mesa, Arizona. Last year, we focused our drive on the babies and children in need. We secured gift cards, clothing, baby supplies, heavy duty strollers, and many other goods for the children. The Center for Hope helps young mothers battling addiction and overcoming psychological disorders by providing a long-term safe and structured environment. The OnTrac baby drive aids the Center for Hope in their effort to help these women and children get back on their feet.
This year, along with Center for Hope’s food and clothing drive, OnTrac is donating funds to the Ronald McDonald House to provide a 7-day "home away from home" for a child and his/her family. These children and families need to travel to Phoenix to receive treatment for a serious, often life-threatening illness or injury. Medical bills can be very expensive, making it financially impossible for the families to come to Phoenix and support their loved ones.
Here at OnTrac, we are dedicated to making a difference in the community, which is why we would like to give the winner of the Charity Challenge a $250.00 donation to the charity of their choice*. To participate, create a comment on this blog post and share with us the charity that you support, and why you believe they should receive the donation. The challenge will close at midnight on December 31, 2010. The winner will also receive a $50.00 American Express Gift Card for their own enjoyment.
Share the Challenge!
- Post on Facebook: "Tell OnTrac about the charity you support and why they should receive a donation this holiday season. Win $250 for your charity and a $50 AMEX gift card for you!http://bit.ly/hAbBYo"
- Tweet: "What charities do you support? Tell OnTrac for a chance to win $250 for your charity and a $50 AMEX card! http://bit.ly/hAbBYo"
- Blog: Write about the OnTrac challenge on your blog and link to our post. http://bit.ly/hAbBYo
*Must be a 501c3 organization