Andrew Schubert’s five-month-old son, Thor

Andrew Schubert loved his job as a delivery technician for Rent One in Erie, Pennsylvania. He had grown up in a rent-to-own family, with a father, Chris Paul, who currently manages a second Rent One location in Erie. Sadly, Schubert passed away on June 29 at age 19. Colleagues at Rent One are devastated, but also determined to show their admiration for their lost coworker and help those left behind—specifically, Schubert’s five-month-old son, Thor.

Since Schubert’s passing, Rent One owners Larry and Sharon Carrico have been consulting with his parents, Chris and Shannon Paul, to establish a trust fund for Thor that will provide for his education. The Carricos are working with Panoptic Wealth Advocates to set up the fund and are allowing Rent One employees to make contributions to the fund via payroll deductions from two pay periods. The Carricos have committed to matching their coworkers’ contributions up to $5,000. Schubert’s parents have also launched a GoFundMe fundraiser, “Education Fund for Thor Schubert”. You can donate online by clicking here.

“My belief is that if your kids don’t spend part of the time being mad at or upset with you, you must not be doing it right,” Chris Paul notes. “Over the past several years, Andrew really had his life together and everything was going right. [His death] was such a tragedy, one of those things that is not supposed to happen. We go through life expecting to bury parents, never expecting to bury a child.”

Thor Schubert

As the Pauls grieve for the loss of their son, they are also mindful of their grandson Thor and want to see his life flourish. “The saddest part is that while Shannon and I, along with everyone else who cared for and knew Andrew, grieves, there is a five-month-old boy left without a father. We are thankful that we have a great relationship with Thor’s mother, Alyssa. Thank you all for your thoughts, kindness and prayers.”

“Sharon and I understand the importance of family, and when our Rent One coworkers asked if they could help, we created a way all could make a difference,” Larry Carrico says. “We are proud of their participation and look forward to Thor’s success in the years ahead.”

Those wishing to make a contribution to Thor Schubert’s education trust fund directly, can do so by mailing a check (payable to: Chris Paul UTMA fbo Thor Schubert) to Amanda Bampton, c/o Panoptic Wealth Advocates, 16091 Swingley Ridge Rd., Suite 110, St. Louis, Missouri 63017.

NASA image shows Category 4 Hurricane Irma approaching south Florida

Less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast, Florida residents and businesses braced themselves as Hurricane Irma hit the Sunshine State on September 10.  A total has yet to be determined for the damages that Irma caused, but the entire state of Florida, as well as parts of Georgia and South Carolina, were affected by the storm. Texas Governor Greg Abbott estimates that damage from Hurricane Harvey will be $150 billion to $180 billion—more costly than the epic Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, or Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast in 2012.

Hurricane Irma’s damages in Florida caused the upcoming annual meeting of the Florida Rental Dealers Association in Tampa, scheduled for next week, to be postponed. Click here for details.

APRO urges rent-to-own professionals to contribute to the association’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund so that victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey—specifically, employees in the rent-to-own industry—can get the help they need. Please encourage employees to contribute, as well. A small contribution will make a big difference and will demonstrate yet again that the RTO industry strives to secure the good of others. To contribute to APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund, click here or contact Tulisha Wendele at 800/204-2776, ext. 111, twendele@rtohq.org.

If any of your employees have been personally displaced or suffered damages due the recent hurricanes and their aftermath, notify APRO as soon as possible. We can help. To begin the process of determining eligibility for disaster relief and potential disbursement, contact APRO’s Richard May, at 800/204-2776, ext. 104, rmay@rtohq.org, after contacting the owner of the company for which you work. Or click here to complete APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund application.

Aaron’s Inc. is reporting that a number of its businesses in the path of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction have experienced significant interruptions or are temporarily closed. The company’s Progressive Leasing has been affected by the closures and interruptions of their retail partners, while 58 of Aaron’s retail stores have closed. Due to the extensive damages caused by the hurricane, Aaron’s currently is unable to determine when operations will return to normal, but it expects to be in a better position to assess the financial impact of the storm in the coming weeks and will provide an update during its third quarter earnings call.

“The areas in Texas hit by the storm are some of the most important markets for both Progressive Leasing and the Aaron’s business, so we are monitoring the situation closely,” says John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s. “Our primary concern, of course, is the safety and well-being of our associates, customers, retail partners and the communities that have been most impacted by the storm.”

Aaron’s has addressed four ways in which it intends to provide support to communities recovering from Hurricane Harvey: a contribution of $100,000 to be dispersed to those most affected by the storm, re-routing delivery trucks to distribute 10,000 cases of bottled water, applying a temporary suspension on regularly scheduled lease payments and collection activities, and the launch of a GoFundMe fundraiser, “Aarons Gives.”

The nationwide fundraiser will benefit the company’s associates and so far has raised more than $52,000 toward its goal of $100,000. Donations can be made online by clicking here.

Even if your home or business are hundreds of miles from the destructive path that Hurricane Harvey took in late August, the storm has affected you. It’s affected all of us, to varying degrees. (Did you have to wait in line at the gas pump to fill up this week?) For those who have suffered the most—those along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast—help is at hand, and for those who have suffered much less, help is needed.

If any of your RTO employees have been personally displaced or suffered damages due to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, please notify APRO as soon as possible. We can help. APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund provides financial support to APRO RTO employees who need assistance after a natural disaster.

To begin the process of determining eligibility and potential disbursement, contact APRO’s Richard May, at 800/204-2776, ext. 104, rmay@rtohq.org, after contacting the owner of the company for which you work. Or click here to complete and submit APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund application.

A total has yet to be determined for the damages that Harvey caused, but as someone who dealt with the aftermath Hurricane Katrina, Baber’s Shannon Strunk knows the likely scenario for many along the coast right now. Mississippi-based Baber’s had 50 Gulf-Coast-state stores in 2005, with hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. “It was devastating,” Strunk says of Katrina’s destruction. “Almost half of our stores were closed for more than two weeks, three of the stores’ buildings were completely decimated or uninhabitable and seven stores directly on the coast had lost most of their customers. A ton of our customers lost everything they had, including our products, because so many homes were destroyed or just gone. You simply can’t buy enough insurance to cover this sort of an event and the impact it has on your company.”

Baber’s Shannon Strunk amidst the damages caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005

Many Baber’s employees were experiencing extreme personal losses, as well. So, for employees who couldn’t work because their stores were closed, the Strunks continued to pay them, and for employees who could work, the Strunks urged them to return to work as soon as possible.

“We learned that the best way to help our employees was to force them back to work, to get them focused on something,” Strunk explains. “It’s kind of like a car accident—you’re just dazed and don’t know what to do with yourself. At home, they couldn’t do much; but at work, they had a purpose.” Fortunately, after years of hard work, Baber’s rebounded and thrives today.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, APRO members contributed more than $190,000 to help rent-to-own employees get back on their feet. The contributions helped 159 employees recover and led to a permanent fund at APRO specifically for such purposes, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. It is administered through APRO’s charitable foundation, so all of the contributions are tax exempt. Every dollar raised goes directly to rent-to-own employees in need.

In light of the recent devastation along the Texas coast, APRO is urging RTO professionals to contribute to the fund so that victims of Hurricane Harvey—specifically, employees in the rent-to-own industry—can get the help they need. Please encourage your employees to contribute, as well. A small contribution will make a big difference and will demonstrate yet again that the RTO industry strives to secure the good of others.

“Natural disasters happen all the time, and the big-time organizations, like the American Red Cross, that come in to help with catastrophic events truly care for only a specific area or group,” Strunk asserts. “There’s no one there to pick up the fringe work. I believe that’s a need that will exist forever, and rent-to-own should keep addressing it. It’s great to be a part of an industry with the compassion and generosity to assist its associates and its communities during the worst of times.”

To contribute to APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund, contact Tulisha Wendele at 800/204-2776, ext. 111, twendele@rtohq.org.

Rent-A-Center has launched a nationwide effort to raise $50,000 for coworkers affected by Hurricane Harvey. The new GoFundMe fundraiser is called “RAC Harvey Coworker Relief Project” and will benefit the company’s employees and their families who have been impacted by the hurricane. In addition, Rent-A-Center CEO Mark Speese announced that the company would match up to $25,000 in donations.

“While our hundreds of coworkers are all accounted for and safe, we know that they are in a time of tremendous need,” Speese says. “They are anxious and uncertain about their futures. Many have lost nearly everything, but they have not lost their RAC family.”

So far, the GoFundMe account has raised more than $22,300 toward its goal of $50,000. You can donate online by clicking here.

Rent-A-Center is also contributing a portion of donations received from their Fill the Fridge Food Bank Campaign directly to food banks depleted by the heavy demand brought on by Hurricane Harvey. The campaign launched on September 1 and will run through the end of the month.

If any of your employees have been personally displaced or suffered damages due to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, please notify APRO as soon as possible. We can help. APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund provides financial support to APRO RTO employees who need assistance after a natural disaster.

To begin the process of determining eligibility and potential disbursement, contact APRO’s Richard May, at 800/204-2776, ext. 104, rmay@rtohq.org, after contacting the owner of the company for which you work. Or click here to complete and submit APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund application.

In 2005, APRO members contributed more than $190,000 to help rent-to-own employees get back on their feet after the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which caused major damage along the Gulf Coast. The contributions helped 159 employees recover from the natural disasters and led to a permanent fund at APRO specifically for such purposes, the RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund. It is administered through APRO’s charitable foundation, so all of the contributions are tax exempt. Every dollar raised goes directly to rent-to-own employees in need.

In light of the recent devastation along the Texas coast, APRO is urging RTO professionals to contribute to the fund so that victims of Hurricane Harvey—specifically, employees in the rent-to-own industry—can get the help they need. Please encourage your employees to contribute, as well. A small contribution will make a big difference and will demonstrate yet again that the RTO industry strives to secure the good of others.

To contribute to APRO’s RTO Employee Disaster Relief Fund, contact Tulisha Wendele at 800/204-2776, ext. 111, twendele@rtohq.org.

The Tennessee Rental Dealers Association recently awarded $15,000 in college scholarships to six students as part of the APRO Education Foundation’s 2017 scholarship program. For the last few years, the TRDA board has contributed $10,000 in college scholarships annually, but after a surprising increase in the number of scholarship applications this year, the board unanimously approved to increase the amount to $15,000. “TRDA board members are urging other state rental dealer associations to do or give more because we really do believe this a great cause,” says TRDA President Chris Bolin. TRDA’s 2017 donation is the highest contribution received from a single state rental dealer association since the program was launched almost a decade ago.

This year, one of the recipients, Alexis Doroba, was awarded her second scholarship, courtesy of TRDA. Doroba attends Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, where she is pursuing a bachelor of science in elementary education and special education with a minor in American Sign Language. “I am so grateful,” she says. “Although I have received other forms of financial aid these scholarships have really helped with my out-of-pocket expenses.” Once her studies are complete, Doroba, who was nominated for the scholarship by John Doroba of Bolin Rental Purchase, plans to move to Tennessee where she will teach special education while implementing her sign language training.

Members of the Tennessee Rental Dealers Association have donated a total of $30,000 to APRO’s Education Foundation’s Scholarship Fund since 2015.

The following TRDA 2017 scholarship recipients are Lekendric Castion, Cheyenne Davis, Alexis Doroba, Hannah Hogan, Chandler Morel, Conner Morel.

Rent One’s Mark Williams (left) joins members of the Southtown Apostolic Church’s youth programs for Rent One’s Day at the Ballpark. Southtown’s reverend, James L. Gordon, is pictured in the purple shirt.

On August 8, Rent One and the Southern Illinois Miners baseball team hosted a day at Rent One Park to benefit youth programs in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The programs are part of the Southtown Apostolic Church’s Family Center, founded by Reverend James L. Gordon, and provide summer activities for young people ages eight to 18.

Several members of the youth programs, along with some of the program’s volunteers, were treated to a baseball game, hot dogs and drinks, as well as access to the park’s Kids Zone and miniature golf course.

Rent One CEO Larry Carrico and his team have been involved with the center for more than 20 years, volunteering, fundraising and increasing community awareness of its programs and good deeds. “It’s great to see our youth enjoy a day at Rent One Park,” Carrico says. “Reverend Gordon has been leading our youth in Mt. Vernon for more than 30 years and Rent One is proud to be a long-standing partner in the Southtown Youth programs.”

Rent-A-Center is teaming up with hunger-relief organization Feeding America to raise $150,000 within the month of September. The new fundraising campaign, called “Fill the Fridge,” will benefit Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks and will take place in all of Rent-A-Center’s U.S. and Puerto Rico stores, AcceptanceNOW kiosks, Rent-A-Center Franchising, Home Choice and Get It Now! stores in Wisconsin.

There are four ways in which Rent-A-Center customers can donate: buy a pin-up card at the point-of-purchase desk or kiosk; make a cash donation; donate a down payment (only customers who are returning to lease a new agreement after having previously paid in full); donate online beginning September 1 by clicking here.

“Our stores nationwide will raise money that will stay local and benefit local communities,” says Gina Hethcock, Rent-A-Center senior public and community relations manager. “Hard working people are still struggling to make ends meet. Each dollar we raise helps secure 11 meals for people in need, which means that we will provide 1.65 million meals when we meet our goal.”

“One in eight Americans may not know where they will find their next meal,” says Nancy Curby, Feeding America senior vice president of corporate partnerships and operations. “We are thankful to Rent-A-Center for its support of Feeding America member food banks across the country, and we are happy to partner now on a national level. ‘Fill the Fridge’ helps us provide more meals to people in need and creates an opportunity for everyone to help make a difference.”

Hunger relief is one of Rent-A-Center’s three pillars of giving, along with disaster relief and family empowerment. The company has donated a total of $142,300 through corporate and coworker donations and has volunteered more than 600 work hours toward hunger relief alone.

After a long day in the summer heat building a wheelchair ramp for Rusty Henson (center), National TV’s Tyler Bonham and Pam Bozworth help Henson celebrate the home improvement.

When citizens in southern Missouri communities need help, National TV Sales & Rental is often there to lift them up—sometimes literally. Employees from National TV’s store in Nevada, Missouri, spent last weekend in the summer heat helping to build a wheelchair ramp at the home of Marine Corp veteran Rusty Henson. Henson, who requires wheelchair assistance, was experiencing difficulty getting up onto and off his front porch, but with the aid of National TV’s “Families Helping Families” program, a team of rent-to-own professionals, along with some contractors, built Henson a wheelchair ramp and provided easy access in and out of his home. National TV’s community outreach project was recognized by local television station KSN.

Click here to view the KSN news story.

The “Families Helping Families” initiative was created in 1986 by National TV’s owners Mark and Kathy Windsor. The charitable program provides much-needed donations and assistance to families across Missouri. “We have helped many in need due to disasters and bad luck, as well as those who simply need to help their families,” says Terry Beauchamp, National TV’s marketing assistant. “Whether its providing coats and gloves in the winter, paying an electric bill, mowing a yard, buying groceries for Thanksgiving dinner or building a wheelchair ramp, we’re always looking for another project.”

National TV Sales & Rental, based in Lebanon, Missouri, offers a payroll-deduction option to employees who wish to donate to the company’s charitable program. “Without the employees, we could not do what we do,” Beauchamp adds. Voluntary employee payroll deductions are at the heart of the charity, and those pooled funds are matched by the Windsors. Additional proceeds for the “Families Helping Families” program are raised at raffles and auctions held during National TV’s annual meetings.