MEDiAHEAD - Happy Thanksgiving!

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

I absolutely love Fall as it is my favorite season. What about you? The fresh fall air, the smell of a fireplace burning, the leaves changing, caramel apples, smores, going to the pumpkin patch and getting apple cider and apples.

Fall reminds me of when I was little.

Every fall, my family and I would take a trip to Wisconsin and go get apples, cider and cheese. We would then head to the nearest park and sit at a picnic table and eat cheese, crackers, apples and sausage and drink apple cider. Occasionally we would get a caramel apple! It would be such a treat for us.

We would then drive through Wisconsin and look at all the beautiful trees and all the colors. I remember this like it was yesterday.

Today, the tradition for me is to go to Branson every fall with the ladies.

MEDiAHEAD - Happy Thanksgiving!We head down right around the time the Fall Festival hits Silver Dollar City and stay for about four days. It’s a group of girls and moms, and we would always say we didn’t need to buy anything but… We always come home with a car full of great crafts, pictures, and things we probably didn’t need but had a great time finding and buying. We’ve done this for more than 20 years!

I’m elated when fall comes and I can go outside and look at my trees and see the colors. Squirrels are busy burying their nuts for the winter. We have a few maple trees and from what I’ve heard, the amount of sugar in the leaves is what turns their leaves so incredibly vibrant.

Going on walks in the fall is so refreshing, breathing in all the fresh air and enjoying being outside. This also reminds me of when I was little.

Spending time with grandparents.

We would go to my grandma and grandpas house for Thanksgiving in Sioux City, Iowa every year. After our Thanksgiving feast, my grandpa would always take us kids for a walk. They lived on top of a mountain (I thought it was a mountain, it really was just a huge hill.) We would always stop and look at the honeysuckle plant growing on the side of his garage. We would walk on a path down the hill from their back yard then go down and around the hill, head to the park, play for a while then we would have to walk back up the “mountain”.

I remember how refreshing that was. Every year, I looked forward to that walk with my grandpa.

Michele and Family for Thanksgiving

I’m looking forward to a lovely Thanksgiving with my family this fall and hope you and yours are too. Maybe you already have thanksgiving traditions, or might be time to start new ones together.

From our entire team at MEDiAHEAD, please stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving this beautiful fall.

Kat McDanielBy Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Veteran’s Day is November 11th. As we remember and support our veterans, I wanted to do more than a quick thank you. I wanted to share a personal story about my grandfather.

The last horse charge of American cavalry was in World War II. My grandfather, Albert E. Hallett, was in the final cavalry charge, breaking up a Japanese attack in the Philippines that bought time for the cavalrymen and other American troops.

The jungles of the Philippines are thick and fighting in them was treacherous. My grandfather was fluent in Japanese after his officer training, and he often slipped behind enemy lines for scouting and harassment. The Army didn’t have all-terrain vehicles at the time. With horses, you could cross streams, climb mountains — go anywhere. Some cavalry units even carried machine guns on horseback.

Veterans Day 2020 and the Final Calvary Charge in World War II

The final charge came in April 1942 as part of the months-long effort to defend the Philippines from the Japanese invasion.

The Americans on the Philippines weren’t ready for the fight, and U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur had to lean hard on his elite troops to protect the rest of the force as they withdrew to one defensive line after another. And cavalry was uniquely suited for that mission since it could ride out, disrupt an attack, and then quickly ride back to where the rest of the defenders had fortified themselves.

And so MacArthur called up the 26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts), a unit that had American officers and Filipino enlisted men on horses. And all of them were well-equipped and good at their jobs. But, like the rest of the American forces there, they faced a daunting enemy. The Japanese invaders were nearly all veterans from fighting in Korea or Manchuria, but few of the American defenders had seen combat. And the Japanese forces were better armed.

Veterans Day 2020 and the Final Calvary Charge in World War II

The cavalry scouts were exhausted from days of acting as the eyes and ears of the Army, but a new amphibious operation on December 22 had put Japanese forces on the road to Manila. The defenders there crumbled in the following days and completely collapsed on January 16, 1942. If the 26th couldn’t intercept them and slow the tide, Manila would be gone within hours.

The American and Filipino men scouted ahead on horseback and managed to reach the village of Morong ahead of Japanese forces. The village sat on the Batalan River, and if the cavalrymen could prevent a crossing, they could buy precious hours. But as they were scouting the village, the Japanese vanguard suddenly appeared on the bridges. The commander had no time, no space for some well-thought-out and clever defense from cover. It was a “now-or-never” situation, and the 26th had a reputation for getting the job done.

Charge!

The men and horses surged forward, pistols blazing, at a vanguard of Japanese infantry backed up by tanks. But the American cavalry charge was so fierce that the Japanese ranks broke, and they dodged back across the river to form back up. It was so chaotic that even the tanks were forced to stop.

“Bent nearly prone across the horses’ necks, we flung ourselves at the Japanese advance, pistols firing full into their startled faces, a few returned our fire but most fled in confusion. To them we must have seemed a vision from another century, wild-eyed horses pounding headlong; cheering, whooping men firing from the saddles.”

The cavalrymen held the line, dismounting after the first charge but preventing the Japanese crossing.

After that charge, the story turned grim.

The cavalry men took heavy losses that day before falling back to the rest of the American force after reinforcements arrived. They were isolated on the Bataan Peninsula. As the American forces began to starve, they butchered the horses and ate the meat. But even that wouldn’t be enough.

On April 9, 1942, the U.S. forces on the Bataan Peninsula surrendered to the Japanese. My grandfather, who was MIA for 18 months, escaped the death march by hiding in the jungle until General MacArthur returned. At least 600 Americans and 5,000 Filipinos were killed in the death march that followed.

Veterans Day 2020 and the Final Calvary Charge in World War II

My grandfather never talked about the war or the atrocities that he had witnessed. He was tough and hard to love, but we found a common path through our mutual love of horses. He went on to become an Assistant Attorney General, a judge and later was one of the Appellant Court Judges in Illinois. He peacefully grew orchids, made grandfather clocks and frames for my grandmother’s paintings.

In 1971 he walked out into the back yard one night and tragically hung himself. At that time, we really didn’t understand PTSD, and after such a successful life we were all beyond shocked. I wish I had known him longer – he had an amazing story to tell.

Albert E. Hallett Albert E. Hallett Albert E. Hallett

To all of the veterans… thank you for your service. And thank you to the families that support the men and women that protect our country and our freedoms!

Rob GarzaBy Rob Garza, Digital Print Consultant at MEDiAHEAD

How times keep changing throughout 2020 for our youth’s education. It was tough already for the 2020 class to graduate, have gatherings and to even celebrate the accomplishments they’ve made throughout their 13 years of education. Parties cancelled, family travel cancelled and/or moved, to celebrations done by parking lot gatherings and drive by parades. It’s a lot to handle for anyone. More stress. More planning. And a lot more emotion and anxiety we don’t need at a time of celebration.

Speaking for myself, who has a child in high school, I thought school would be starting at its regular date. With enrollment coming up, my daughter was already participating in conditioning and cheer clinics. All of this came to a sudden stop on July 16th when Kansas Governor Laura Kelley proposed to push schools opening 3 weeks later, after Labor Day. This would in turn help the school system gather additional masks, thermometers, and hand sanitizer, and to still decide on curriculums for the school year.

Pushing school back three weeks changed everything.

Time to go back to school?Sporting practices and other school related activities stopped. It seemed like we were back at square one. This was a little disconcerting for me as a parent. My daughter just wants to get back to school, see her friends, participate in activities, go to games, etc. She just wants things back the way they were. (Don’t we all?)

There are roughly a half a million kids going back to school at some point. We’re still not sure how that will be mandated. It leaves the decision up to districts on how to operate schools–whether with in-person instruction, virtual instruction or a combination of the two.  It all depends on the level of COVID-19 outbreaks in our communities, according to the newspaper.

Deciding how to safely go back to school.

This is a big responsibility for anyone trying to come up with a plan to make “everyone” happy.

The work that teachers did before the pandemic was monumental. Now they have even more responsibility. Making sure masks are worn and worn correctly. (That will be a feat in and of  itself) Making sure hands are sanitized. And that social distancing is respected. Oh, and they need to educate our kids.

Times have changed, but we have to keep a level head. We have to care about one another and our families. Everyone is different and everyone has their own opinion. It’s okay. Take a deep breath and stay calm. Change happens, and sooner or later we all will have to adapt to these changes. Enjoy your life, enjoy your family, because life moves quickly and can be much shorter than you think.

So to the rest of the parents out there… we will get through this together. And our kids will be stronger and probably more appreciative as a result. Be sure to thank the teachers and administrative staff every chance you get!

Kathryn McDaniel

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I started working with The Mission Project this year because my stepson is autistic and participates in their program.

The Mission Project allows adults with disabilities to live independently in their own apartments in Mission, Kansas. The Mission Project’s vans drive them to their jobs, one of the requirements of the project. They also receive classes offering social skills and coaching to live a successful life within the community.

Fundraising Dilemma

In previous years, they mailed out the standard letter, envelope and reply card to previous donors. Unfortunately, last year they only raised $3,800 which didn’t even cover the cost of the printing and postage.

This year, because all the participants of The Mission Project live in Mission, we decided to appeal to residents who are familiar seeing them in the community. We purchased a list of the one mile area around their community center, with a household income at a certain level and an age range of 35 to 65 years old.

The Design

Our art director designed a colorful 8 ½ x 16 letter with lots of photos of the residents and we mailed it in a colorful 6 x 9 envelope with a return envelope. We also purchased a website URL for a landing page where they could donate online – AGoodFriendHelpsOthers.com.

The Mission Project 2019 Fundraiser

I’m happy to report that we helped The Mission Project raise over $22,000!

For our annual appeal campaign this year, we set a goal to collect $15,000 in net profit (after expenses). As I mentioned earlier, we raised a little over $3,800 last year. We decided to donate the printing and list research costs and only charged the actual postage for mailing the requests for donations. After expenses of only $1,096.41 we raised $22,431.59!

Personalization is so important in today’s giving climate. People want to feel that they personally connect with the causes they’re donating to. By highlighting a neighbor that they see around Mission – Ellen for example, who has one of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see – we were able to increase donations and increase community awareness for all the participants.

You can learn more about the Mission Project by visiting www.themissionproject.org!

The Mission Project 2019 Fundraiser

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I’m going to Mexico with 120 women from the Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business (WWMB). I feel so fortunate to be in this group with so many accomplished women. There are many women’s groups available, but these women have always stood solidly behind me.

My Support Team

They were there to comfort me when Tom Rieger passed, they were there to cheer me on through my transition from ColorMark to MEDiAHEAD, to hold me up through my cancer journey and to celebrate my recovery and marriage to dear John Ditch.

You Got This!

When I was diagnosed with cancer and before my surgery, I decided that I couldn’t go on the Women Who Mean Business Mexico trip in 2018. But, my extraordinary friend and cheerleader Cindy Reynolds (who has been my roommate for 10 years on the trip) convinced me that I should go.

I can’t even count the times that WWMB’s hugged me, gave me a high five or shouted “you got this” – it made all the difference in my attitude when I went into surgery and treatment a week later. And who could forget Betsy Allgeyer, who went to every treatment with me – even though I didn’t know her very well when she offered to take me the first time.

This is a world where many of us are working in male dominated industries and trying to break the glass ceiling. Women are striving for equality in so many areas, it makes no sense for us not be lifting each other up. Supporting other women and celebrating their successes can make you much more successful, because it encourages others to do the same for you.

Women Who Mean Business - Mexico Women Who Mean Business - Mexico

Here are my 5 to-do’s this year to become someone who celebrates other women:

  1. If you admire something or someone, let them know. As women we’re always hard on ourselves – we are often split between career and family, feeling that we’re not doing a great job on either. A kind word or simple compliment can make an enormous difference in their day.
  2. Give other women a hand up. We can help each other by supporting and reinforcing their voices, as well as championing their efforts and abilities – if someone has done an amazing job, tell them and celebrate them in front of other people. And, make time to mentor – all of us can point to someone in their life who inspired them and gave them a helping hand.
  3. Be present. Years ago, in a seminar I attended there was one line that has stuck with me all these years – must be present to win. By being present in life, work and with your family you are winning. Next time you are talking to a female friend or co-worker, try to actively listen and engage with them, ask them thoughtful questions and give them your full attention. Your attention will make them feel appreciated and empowered.
  4. Find your team. As I mentioned above, it’s so important to have a group that celebrates you. As women, we downplay our successes, so find a group of like-minded women who are chasing similar goals and cheer them on… while they cheer for you. When pain and disaster hits, you will want a team that backs you up and supports you to get back on track. Tell women your goals and they will make you accountable – I went to a SkillPath seminar yesterday on setting goals and this was one of the things that the panel expressed as so important – tell your team you’re writing a book and next time they see you they will ask “how is that book coming?”
  5. Be kind, you never know what someone is going through. No matter how someone looks or acts, you truly never know what is happening in their lives. In Mexico one year, we all met on the beach every morning to talk and pray and I was so surprised at some of the incredibly difficult things so many of these accomplished “perfect” women were going through. You will never know how much a small act of kindness will affect someone, so practice it every day. There have been so many times that I walked into an event and saw someone in the corner: I always walk over, pull them out of their shyness and introduce them to other people. Be their champion, I know what it is like to be the shy one.

How has celebrating other women made you more successful?

Women Who Mean Business - Mexico

It’s always fun to see the costumes come out. Take the kids trick-or-treating. Or visit a haunted house.

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate this year, we hope that you enjoy a safe and fun Halloween!

Happy Halloween

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

MEDiAHEAD Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House of KCWhat an uplifting experience! If you haven’t volunteered at one of the Ronald McDonald Houses here in Kansas City…. you should.

Bernstein House

The MEDiAHEAD team volunteered their time to cook a freezer meal in the Bernstein House. You and your team can do the same. It’s super easy to volunteer, you just go to their website and pick a time and date you can attend, it’s that easy.

Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City provides food and resources for families with sick children. Family’s can stay at one of these homes while their child receives the medial care they need. It takes the stress away from finding a close, comfortable and affordable place to stay. RMHCKC actually has three houses adjacent to Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Did you know they serve all the pediatric hospitals here in the Kansas City area?

Get Involved

If you’re looking for a great way to serve your community or a team-building event, I highly recommend volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. There are other ways to help through online donations, estate gifts, events and other contributions as well. Just go to their website and check it out.

It will fill your heart with happiness!