Kearney Moving values the importance of each employee’s family. And we’d like to introduce you to one of our growing families and share their story.
Employee Josh Weinberg and wife Rachel met while working at a local grocery store, married in 2008, and were then quickly blessed with daughter Adrianna in 2010. They both grew up in fairly large families, and they desired a large family as well. After trying for another child relatively soon after Adri was born, a year later it seemed as though they had paid a small fortune in pregnancy tests to no avail and were becoming a bit discouraged. They were excited to grow their family, so they sought out other medical options and also began researching adoption.
While in high school, Rachel did some mission work at an orphanage in Haiti, and she had always hoped to one day give an orphaned child a home. In 2013, Rachel listened to a speaker at a women’s church event share her story about adopting a child from Ethiopia. This was a significant turning point for Rachel as she and Josh decided to take a huge step of faith by trusting God and following Him on an incredible journey of faith and hope.
The Journey Begins
Even though they weren’t sure that this was definitely God’s plan for their family, they knew there was a biblical mandate to care for orphans, and they desired more children. After slowly researching agencies, they finally decided on one and began the intense adoption process: paperwork, fingerprinting, counseling sessions, background checks, and hours of education, not to mention significant financial costs.
Fueled by a desire to adopt a family-less child, they worked hard to raise funds, and they saw God provide through every step. After being qualified to adopt from six different countries, they decided on the poorest country on the list: Ethiopia. After submitting their dossier, they pursued children on waiting lists, but - for whatever reason - something would always fall through. It all came to a frustrating halt when the country essentially closed its doors to international adoption. Although this process was difficult, the Weinbergs are thankful that God spared them and a child from a connection that may never have been completed.
Following this heartbreak, Josh and Rachel decided to pursue a U.S. adoption through a small Florida agency started by a woman who had experienced her own frustration when adopting her own two boys. They continued another long wait coupled with many new frustrations: extra fees, contract changes, and then actually meeting a birth mother who decided on another family. Through this all, the Weinberg family grew in their faith as their longing for a child increased their longing more after Christ. They saw how adoption is such a beautiful picture of the gospel of Christ.
God Had a Different Plan
After nearly 5 years of trying to add to their family, Josh and Rachel learned in June of ’15 that they were expecting! They rejoiced that God had given them the desire of their hearts, but in the wait God had given them something more: a desire for more of Christ and a longing to minister to orphaned and hurting children. On February 24, 2016, the Weinbergs welcomed Harper to their family. Through this journey, big sister Adriana – now 5 ½ - has developed a sensitive heart toward children who don’t have mommies and daddies. Josh and Rachel were very open with her the whole way about their struggles as they prayed and cried together many times over their desire for a baby. She is overjoyed at the arrival of her little sister and takes her role as big sister very seriously, knowing that Harper is a tangible gift from the Lord.
A Few Words from the Weinbergs
From Josh and Rachel, “The Kearney Moving family was so supportive throughout this process, always encouraging family to remain a top priority in the business. The company has graciously allowed time off for Josh for the different adoption meetings and conferences, as well as time when Harper was born. Some of the Kearney Moving family were there at our fundraisers, and the business helped sponsor our Glow Run 5K. Since having Harper, many of the employees have rejoiced with us in celebrating her life through gifts and visits. Our desire to adopt hasn't changed. We still trust God with our future whatever that may look like."
Having Fun: Keeping a Positive Attitude
As you can see, the Weinbergs have a strong faith. Josh can have a serious conversation about his faith and the importance of his family, but he can also make you laugh so hard that you cry. As an employer, it has been a joy to watch Josh work through this process and yet see his amazing attitude through all of the ups and downs. Some of Josh’s greatest attributes are his joyful spirit and positive attitude. Josh began – like most of our employees – as a crew member, then advanced to a senior crew member and now works as a foreman. He has an incredible ability to have fun while at work and has a great sense of humor, making the crew and customers laugh or smile. Our customers love Josh; he consistently ranks as one of the highest tipped employees here at Kearney Moving.
Although Josh can make nearly anyone laugh, he is a professional and does his job very well. He works hard. We trust him to manage any size crew we assign, to take an 18-wheeler anywhere in the country, and to take care of our customers at every level as he is able to sense needs and address them. Josh has experience handling high stress situations like a pro; for example, a few years ago he hit a patch of black ice and his truck slid sideways with oncoming traffic heading towards him. Thankfully he kept a cool head and was able to get the truck straightened out, keeping the crew, truck and furniture safe.
Important Team Member
We are proud to have Josh on our team. This past year he earned a special award from Atlas Van Lines for customer service, and he has won multiple awards from Kearney Moving for customer service and safe driving. Josh plays a significant role in modeling some of our company’s core values as they shape our company’s culture. More specifically, he exemplifies “have fun while you work” and “build a positive team and family culture.”
Having said that, as much as he enjoys work,
he typically can't wait to get home to be with his wife and two children!
Our College Workforce: It's Bittersweet
A significant strength of our company comes from our college-age workforce. But as we approach a new summer moving season, it is often bittersweet as we have employees who are graduating and moving on to other places and new careers. Today’s post is highlighting one such employee: Stephen Lillyman. He is a unique individual and has been an outstanding employee. Part of his uniqueness comes from a very unique life story.
We’ll let Steve tell his story and then close with how KMS has helped to shape him as he prepares to graduate from UN-Kearney in May and move to Chicago.
Unique Childhood: From Australia to Chicago Suburbs to...Nebraska?
Well, I was born in the land of kangaroos, the Land Down Under, and lived there until I was 7. My memories are limited primarily to Sydney, Australia, but I remember feeding the vibrantly colored parrots on our porch, building forts in the banana trees, and going to the ocean. At age 7, we hopped the ocean and moved to a suburb of Chicago. I recall being teased for my Aussie accent, but I found a great group of buddies and we spent almost every minute together.
When I was finishing junior high, my parents decided to move to Kearney. I remember trying to locate Nebraska on maps with my friends, and I wondered what life would be like. My friends teased me about the lack of electricity, desolate farmland, and the possibility of Indian raids. As it turned out, I enjoyed living a boy’s dream on my family’s 15-acre plot of land north of Kearney: catching snakes, paintballing, dirt biking, fishing, and on and on.
Catching the Travel Bug
Immediately following high school, I decided to study in England and backpack around Europe. While living in England, I met my first South Korean friend, and I was convinced that I would visit him in Korea at some point. I was right. The following summer I was able to teach English at a summer school in my friend’s hometown in the mountains of South Korea. After that summer, my passion and love for the country, its people, language, and culture, was ignited. It felt like my second home. After that summer I returned to Kearney to attend UN-Kearney for the fall semester and then to Sydney, Australia for the spring semester. But I wanted to travel back to South Korea.
Immersed in the South Korean culture
Not surprisingly, I traveled to South Korea again, but this time I decided to stay and work on the apple farm that my friend’s parents owned. For nearly a year, I lived in a small remote city in the mountains of South Korea, waking each day at 5am and working until sundown. It was some of the hardest work of my life, but it was also some of the most rewarding and fascinating. I pulled a plow through the fields, spent days clearing huge stones from the fields, prepped apple fields for the season, and harvested thousands of apples in a day. Most of this was by hand as the plots of land were far too steep for large machines.
While there, I truly become a part of the Korean culture, immersed in all its customs and behaviors. I truly felt it was my home away from home. During my time there, I also attended summer schools in Seoul and I lived with my Korean friend who became like a brother to me.
When it came time to return to UNK, my Korean-friend decided to transfer to UNK. While at UNK, he introduced me to another Korean who would later become my wife. We quickly became the best of friends and were engaged within 7 months.
Although I am now married, we continue to travel: 4 times to South Korea, and we both studied abroad in the Czech Republic.
We see our life as an adventure as we embrace change and new opportunities.
Steve's Thoughts on Kearney Moving
I first became acquainted with Kearney Moving when the company moved my family from Chicago to Kearney, NE. Interestingly enough my mother, two brothers, and brother in-law all have worked for Kearney Moving at different times since our move to Nebraska.
I began working here part-time in 2011 and after my first few jobs I was hooked. I loved the guys I worked with and found that I quickly fit in. Work was a blast, and I enjoyed the physical aspect of the job as well, getting in a workout while I worked.
I can say with all honesty, when I first arrived at KMS I was pretty green, lacking a great number of skills that I quickly had to learn. I was horrible with tools, barely knowing their names, and was also not the strongest kid. I always made sure to work as hard as I could and applied myself to learning all the skills that were needed. I had a great number of guys above me that patiently taught me. After some time I became a manager and later was given the chance to use my graphic design skills to create advertising materials and training videos.
Steve's Future Plans
I will be moving out of Kearney, NE at the end of this semester. I am currently looking for a job and will join my wife in Chicago where she is already working. We look forward to living and working in Chicago together for some time, getting some work experience under our belt. I’m interested in pursuing an MBA / International Business sometime in the future, and we'd like to return to Korea again.
As I transition to a new chapter of life I am thankful for my time with Kearney Moving. I appreciate the great leadership that made this company one that I am proud to have worked for. Kearney Moving is truly a hidden gem, a place that is full of quality and genuine individuals who are honest, caring, and fun. I built lifelong friendships and learned skills that I will never forget. I appreciate the patience and flexibility during my schooling and travels. I truly consider my boss a friend and mentor. I have learned so much from him, and this has laid a foundation upon which I can build my future goals and dreams. How many workplaces do you know where that is the case?
Commitment defines Eric Johnson's Life
The definition of commitment is - the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something. Kearney Moving has been blessed with several employees that model this character trait.. This week we want to highlight one of our employees who models commitment very well in his life. Eric Johnson has over 23 years of experience in the moving industry and has a passion for offering excellent service to our clients. More important than his career is his commitment to his wife and family. At Kearney Moving we are proud to have Eric on our team, and we want you to get to know our #1 professional van operator.
Early in life Eric learned the value of hard work. Growing up on a family farm in Illinois, his father taught him the value of commitment to a solid work ethic. As young kids, Eric and his siblings were milking cows, cleaning stalls, and working hard in the fields. After he graduated from high school, he joined the Army and served our country for 3 and a half years in the 3rd infantry division. During his time of service, he drove truck hauling supplies while stationed in Wurzburg, Germany.
Because Eric is no stranger to hard work, it made him a great fit for the moving industry. Eric's primary job as a professional van operator is to relocate our clients anywhere they need to move in the United States. He drives nearly 70,000 miles a year and has been to every state in the country except Alaska and Hawaii. In all of his travels, the place that he would most like to revisit is Coos Bay, OR, because of its beauty and proximity to the ocean. His least favorite place is Washington D.C. because of the difficulty of driving a big truck on the small streets (and I don't think he likes politicians). If you spend any time with Eric, you will appreciate how seriously he takes his job. Our customers enjoy his high quality and straight forward approach to service. Eric wants our clients to know each step of the moving process, and he enjoys explaining how their items are cared for while being transported. It's not uncommon for him to invite clients onto the trailer to show them the complicated process of loading a trailer. Each year Eric hauls over 500,000 lbs. of furniture. To put that in perspective, that's approximately the same weight as 125 full grown elephants. Kearney Moving is an agent for Atlas Van Lines, and Eric continues to earn high marks for quality service and low claims. His hard work also helped Kearney Moving earn the Hauling Excellence Award in 2015.
Although Eric is very committed to his work, nothing is more important to him than his wife and kids. Eric is very proud of his 9 kids and 4 grand kids. Being on the road nearly 200 days a year is very challenging, and he is quick to praise his wife for making it work. He said "without my wife this would not be possible." When he is traveling, he spends nearly 10 hours a week on the phone (and on Facetime) helping with the kids' homework and keeping in touch with the family. When he is at home, he stays busy spending time with his kids and doing upkeep around the house. As a company, we work very hard to get Eric home for holidays and important school events. Recently his kids have excelled in music, track and wrestling, and he couldn't be more proud of their accomplishments.
Joining Kearney Moving
Eric joined the Kearney Moving family about 2 years ago and we are thankful for his commitment and dedication to his job and family. The values and principles that he models in his life have been a great fit for Kearney Moving. He appreciates being a part of a team that emphasizes team work and a solid work ethic. We say thank you to Eric and his family for helping Kearney Moving be what it is today.
Last week one of our employees wives entered Kearney Moving into a local contest for having the best employees. A Facebook comment from one of our customers was very special and I wanted to share it with you.
Our mission as a company is to "bless every customer with an incredible move." Thanks to our amazing staff we have the privilege of serving people like Lee during very difficult times. Bill Werner was our crew manager that day and I want to thank him for his servant leadership. It's such a privilege to work with a team that truly understands how to bless people through great service.
Joleen is our receptionist and one of her greatest character qualities is compassion. Many of our customers are under a great deal of stress and Jo has a way of making them feel comfortable. She truly listens to their concerns. A few months ago an older couple stopped by our office to get some information about our moving service. They had lived in this community for a few years but had struggled to make friends. So they decided to move a few hours away to be closer to family. Jo noticed that their health was failing. Both of them struggled to walk and it was clear that life was difficult for them.
After hearing about our services they decided to hire our company to move them, but they could not afford a full service move. This meant that they would have to pack up their own boxes instead of having our company do it. Packing an entire house can be a daunting task even for healthy people. But for these folks it was completely overwhelming and very difficult. Over the next several weeks they would stop by our office to pick up more boxes to pack. Each time they stopped by Jo got to know them a little better, and a special friendship began to form. Jo realized that they were struggling and needed help packing or they would never be ready in time. So one Saturday Jo and her family went to their home and helped them pack up. The couple could not believe their kindness and generosity. They offered to pay Jo but she refused. A few months after they moved Jo took the time to go and visit them. The lonely couple told Jo “you were the first person to care enough to come and visit us.” Recently the wife has developed a serious heart condition that will require surgery. Jo took the time to go and visit her old friend in the hospital to encourage and pray for her. Jo says “they are very sweet and dear to my heart.”
Kearney Moving is a business that moves furniture but I like to think we are more than that. We serve people with real lives and real needs. I’m proud of the level of service we offer all our customers but the compassion that Jo has shown this customer is extraordinary. It’s a privilege to work with people that serve selflessly, not to be recognized but because they really do care.