Forest Industry Safety & Training Alliance, Inc.

December 2012

The Best Gift of All

By the time you read this issue of TPA, I’ll be back in my office following a week on the family farm for hunting and an overindulgence of turkey dinners. Conversation will be either the tall tales we all tell about recent hunting success or grumbling about what went wrong. For me, it will most likely be the disappointment of the latter.

We all have learned by now that disappointments are a fact of life. Whether it’s ending hunting season with an empty freezer, the recent election, or being unable to provide all the gifts the kids want this year, disappointments are never pleasant to deal with. Some disappointments hit harder and closer to home, touching us in the form of tragedy. Just imagine discovering your home or business engulfed in flames, or having a doctor reveal that your child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. During times such as these, we realize that our TIME is the best gift we can give. This year,FISTA had a couple unique opportunities to give of our time. In return, we also received the gift of others’ time.

The first opportunity was for Tom Jordan of Oneida Boat Works. Tom is a master craftsman that restores rare, antique boats. His work has been recognized internationally and he has numerous awards to show for his attention to detail. Unfortunately, on April 29 of this year, Tom discovered his shop burning to the ground after a forest fire crept onto their property. Over a $300,000 in tools, property and 8 rare boats belonging to clients were destroyed. The aftermath of the fire left the Jordan family upside-down while struggles with the insurance company slowed the rebuilding process to a crawl.

Before rebuilding, nearly 30 scorched trees surrounding the shop needed to be removed prior to resuming construction. Who better to remove hazardous trees than FISTA! With help from Dennis and Troy Schoeneck of Enterprise Forest Products, this task was completed in less than a day. Dennis Schoeneck, owner of Enterprise Forest Products and FISTA Board Member says he believes” it’s important for us to be active and support our communities. He continued, “Those of us in the forest products industry have an added responsibility to be good stewards to not only the forests we work in, but also the communities in our area.” For the JordansFISTA was able to offer the gift of safety and time which quite possibly could have prevented this disaster from becoming worse.

The second opportunity was for the benefit of a charity we’re all familiar with; Log-A-Load For Kids. This Children’s Miracle Network charity was started in South Carolina in 1998 and first took place in the Lake States area in 1996. Log-A-Load For Kids is now a national program in which loggers can donate the value of one load of logs, or any amount they can, to help make hospital stays easier for children.

"Log-A-Load is a great cause that gives us an opportunity to help little kids and their families. We should all be thankful that we’re able to help those in unfortunate situations and not be in those challenges ourselves. ”

Dennis Schoeneck, Enterprise Forest Products

This year, FISTA offered two Open Enrollment Chainsaw Safety courses in Rhinelander. Several mature aspen trees and poor quality hardwoods were felled for these educational opportunities. Additional trees were later felled by FISTA staff to make a full load. The wood was then donated to Log-A-Load For Kids. Skidding for the project was provided by Dennis and Troy Schoeneck of Enterprise Forest Products and hauling was provided by Scott Schoeneck Trucking. The wood was purchased by PCA in Tomahawk. All the remaining hardwood was cut into firewood which will also be donated to Log-A-Load For Kids. Clean-up around the office building was made possible by the donation of a Vermeer chipper for a day by Mike Hoppe of United Rentals in Rhinelander.

Dennis expressed how it’s “easy to get wrapped up in our own little world.” He believes that “Log-A-Load is a great cause that gives us an opportunity to help little kids and their families. We should all be thankful that we’re able to help those in unfortunate situations and not be in those challenges ourselves.

With December upon us, our thoughts and recent memories of this hunting season and Thanksgiving holiday are gradually being replaced by the fast-approaching Christmas holiday. While preparing for and finding the perfect gifts for those special people in our lives, remember that the best gift you can give anyone, anytime of the year, is your time. FISTA is thankful for, and proud to have, the ability to give a portion of our time to those in need. We also recognize the generous donation of time from others supporting FISTA is what makes us effective and successful as an organization. That being said, FISTA would like to thank the following for your gift of time:

  • Enterprise Forest Products

  • Scott Schoeneck Trucking

  • PCA Tomahawk

  • United Rentals Rhinelander

  • GLTPA staff

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! Spend more time than money on your family and loved ones; because dollar-for-dollar, TIME goes much farther.

Please contact our office to learn more about donating to Log-A-Load For Kids or helping with the Jordans’recovery efforts.


Ben Parsons, FISTA Training Coordinator, is originally from West “By God”, Virginia as they say in that part of the Appalachian Mountains. His family’s deeply rooted philosophy of living off the land was monumental in deciding to earn a degree in Forest Management from West Virginia University.  Throughout his career, Ben has had the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of assignments.  He measured Forest Inventory and Analysis research plots in Virginia and Georgia, been involved with urban and utility forestry operations throughout the Appalachian region, procured lowland hardwood timber in the swamps of South Georgia, managed logging contracts and harvest operations in Arkansas and specialized in water quality and harvest planning as well as fighting forest fires in Virginia. As FISTA Training Coordinator, helping to meet your safety and educational needs is the number one priority here at FISTA.  For more information, contact Ben at 800-551-2656 or ben.parsons@fistausa.org