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Faces of Prostate Cancer

Safeway Heroes

Everyday Heroes

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Mike Eagle

My name is Mike Eagle and I have been with Safeway for 31 years, 18 of them as a Store Manager. Five years ago my sister-in-law passed away from cancer, right before our store started our month of fundraising for prostate cancer. Her death was the catalyst that changed the way I approached the upcoming fundraising month. My strategy was simple – involve every employee and raise as much as we could for cancer research. I set daily individual goals for all of my checkers, and held multiple events each week to involve all of the department employees. We held several huge fundraising events (carnivals, bbq rib contest, community garage sales, chili cook-offs, etc.) that required many volunteers to donate their time and efforts to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and it worked. The store and the community rose to the challenge and we astonished ourselves by finishing first in the company for the month long event.

After the first fundraising month, the employees and I were hooked and we haven't looked back since. In the four ensuing years we've raised the bar annually and have continued to challenge ourselves to surpass our previous years' efforts. There’s always new ways to fundraise and every new idea is given the chance to succeed. The results have been outstanding and we’re not done yet! This has been a total store effort, along with strong community support, that enables us to achieve the high results we have so far.

Thank you to the great people at the PCF for working so hard to find a cure for prostate cancer.

Mike Eagle
Silver Firs Safeway 2645

Don Keprta

This year Dominick's fundraising efforts for cancer research and support will exceed the five million dollar mark. The Illinois-based Dominick's division of Safeway has been a repeated champion and leader for prostate cancer fundraising campaigns during the month of June since the company started its partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation in 2000.

Chicago is known for cold weather and a skyline of sky scrapers, but the Dominick's cancer fundraising efforts also demonstrate the City's warm hearts. Dominick's 81 stores have a team of more than 9,000 employees who do a series of events from car washes, bingo and bowling to raise funds during the campaign. The majority of funds are raised through the check stand from customers who relate and care about the cause.

Perhaps the strongest ingredient to Dominick's success for prostate cancer fundraising is Don Keprta, the president, who is a prostate cancer survivor. Don is an in-house inspiration and leader for prostate cancer. His personal testimony is a classic example of how good health habits that include annual check ups allow for early detection and successful treatment of cancer.

"Our company supports many worthy causes that are very personal to our employees and customers." states Keprta "I have a personal appreciation of the impact, emotion and benefit from support when dealing with prostate cancer. It makes me very proud that we are raising both awareness and funds. Early detection and prevention saves lives and our significant contributions to research will go towards finding a cure for this disease.

Dean Willhite

Since his first day as a dairy clerk in 1981, Dean Willhite has worked tirelessly to improve his store and the communities he serves. While ascending the ranks as an assistant store manager, through his promotion to district manager in 2002, Dean recognized early that philanthropy is a way of life for Safeway - one which complements his own desire to give back.

"Helping families who are less fortunate motivates me, " said Willhite. "I know many families who struggle with everyday life due to circumstances beyond their control. The financial and professional assistance we can offer through our fundraising efforts provides the motivation I need to succeed."

When asked about inter-division competition, Willhite laughs and notes, "Pure competition - outperforming my colleagues also works."

Dean and his Las Vegas-based district (D 43) are frequently among the top fundraising districts in the Vons division, as well as companywide.

Rick Diton

Since beginning his career at Vons in 1978 as a courtesy clerk, Rick Diton has made service to his company, and to others, a cornerstone of his daily activities. After having climbed the ranks to manage four Vons locations, Rick was promoted to District Manager in 2006. His experience in the stores shaped his view of Safeway's fundraising efforts and laid the groundwork for future success.

"For me, the excitement for fundraising began as an assistant store manager - holding bake sales and rummage sales at the store to drive results," said Diton. "In the beginning, it was more about the inter-company competition, but after a fundraising event to benefit a local hospital, and visiting the children, it all changed."

Rick had the opportunity to deliver crayons, stuffed animals and other items - all while wearing a bunny costume - to critically ill children. Being with the children, and seeing first-hand the struggles they face, changed fundraising from a competitively driven activity, to one of charity. Rick regularly visits Easter Seals after-school programs, joins in the MDA telethons and has made philanthropy a priority for he and his family.

Rick, and his Los Angeles-county based District (D 47) are consistently at the top of fundraising for Vons, and has - more than once - topped the fundraising charts against all districts companywide.


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