What is Turkeys for Troops?

by Luke Thomas

Anyone who has been at Strong through a Thanksgiving season has heard of Toyota of Boerne’s famous Turkeys for Troops event. It’s a turkey giveaway, that much is clear, but what exactly goes into it, and why is it such an extensive production?

The Gist of the Event

Turkeys for Troops debuted at Toyota of Boerne in 2009 when Vic Vaughan learned about the Thanksgiving-themed giveaway, aimed at supporting those who have served in the armed forces. Originally, the local H-E-B grocery chain refused to sell him what – atturkeys walmart man.jpg the time – seemed like an absurdly large number of turkeys. Then, Walmart stepped in to work out a deal.

TOB’s event began with 500 turkeys. This year, that number reached 6,680.

Active and retired military personnel begin lining up at the dealership as early as 7 a.m. The turnout was so large that the Enterprise location across the street reported not being able to deliver on their “We’ll Pick You Up” slogan due to the traffic the event caused.

Volunteers from local organizations and military groups hand out frozen turkeys to two lanes of oncoming cars, which keeps the line moving quickly.

When the lines finally close, some of the leftover turkeys are left for people to pick up after-hours. The rest are donated to the San Antonio Food Bank.

Mike Shaw Toyota Joins In

For the first time ever, Strong handled two Turkeys for Troops promotions in tandem. turkeys mike shawMike Shaw Toyota joined the group, giving away about 500 turkeys per hour. In all, 2,100 turkeys were given away by the day’s end. This event was perfect for Shaw, as he himself is a Vietnam veteran.

Strong Lends A Hand

Since its inception, Strong has handled the promotion of Turkeys for Troops. This year, Amelia, Luke, Elisabeth, and Connie jetted off to Boerne to capture live video, interviews, and photos for social media.

The team used a full arsenal of tactics, including custom-made hashtag tees, prize giveaways, check-in contests, and live streaming.

Gayle and Megan L. handled MST’s social promotion, with the support of Mary-Kate, Andrew, and Shara here at home base. The team is happy to report that, despite the onslaught of turkey media coming through on the same day, no mix-ups were made, and both dealerships received much positive interaction from the promotion.

A Truly Great Cause

turkeys military heroSeeing an event like this first-hand leaves no doubt about the authenticity behind it. In Boerne, Vic Vaughan spent all day among the crowds talking with volunteers, veteran groups, and military personnel to thank them for their service. Later, Wells Fargo and the Military Warriors Support Foundation gave away a mortgage-free home to a wounded veteran and his family.

In Corpus Christi, the same heartfeltness was present. Shaw himself was filmed shaking hands and thanking each of the cars coming through the line. As someone with a veteran background, it’s clear he values the real meaning behind this giveaway.

Best Ugly Sweaters for the 2017 Christmas Party

by Luke Thomas

Strong’s favorite ho ho ho-down is coming up on Dec. 15, and we’ve assembled a fittingly festive sweater guide to prepare for it.

This year, take your tacky sweater game to a whole new level, and order one of these gems right in time for Strong’s festivities and all of your holiday parties.

Tackiest Sweaters of the Season

If you’ve ever been called “extra,” then this sweater is for you. The crafters of this seasonal sensation took care to ensure you’re trimmed from head to toe. Enjoy a light-up wine stocking on the front of this custom-made sweater.

Go all out and order this sweater from Etsy.


sweater 2

Have you ever seen a stranger sweater? Fans of the TV series Stranger Things will enjoy this design that is one part spooky, one part festive.

You can find this men’s sweater at Target.


sweater 3

You’ll have lots of pun with this owlsome sweater! Show off your appreciation for the wordsmiths among us, and have a hoot while you sip your cider.

This women’s “Holiday Hooter” sweater is available for ordering here.


sweater 4

If you’re feeling something classier, we’ve got just the sweater vest for you. This tastefully ugly vest looks great layered over a festive long-sleeve tee or a simple button-up.

Order this men’s sweater vest from Macy’s, and get an extra 30 percent off using code FRIEND.


sweater 5

What tacky Christmas sweater list would be complete without a little feline flair? This Grumpy Cat sweater is perfect for last-minute shoppers, with its same-day shipping if you order by 9 a.m.

Get this Meowy Catmas sweater fast from Etsy.

Order it, Wear it, Own it

Do you already have the town’s tackiest sweater tucked in your closet? Let the world see at Strong’s 2017 Christmas party, and may the ugliest winterwear win.

On the Move: Terry’s Transition

film reel editing.jpg

by Luke Thomas

You might not find it listed on a benefits sheet, but the ability to transition is one of the most valuable amenities we have at Strong.

It’s not every day that you find a company who truly values your strengths, interests, and passions. Here, these passions are not only recognized, but celebrated. While many are already a perfect fit for their positions, the ability to transition and grow extends benefits to us all, making us a stronger agency overall.

Senior Graphic Designer Terry Wirt is one person who is particularly grateful for SAM’s flexible growth environment.

This fall, Wirt began training to learn the in’s and out’s of video editing in Production.

“This is a way for my love of video and graphic design to fall together”

A Long Time Coming

For the past decade, Wirt has worked in graphic design. Seven of those years were spent at Strong. At Florida State, he studied art and graphic design, so it’s no surprise where his career has taken him up until now.

But a further look into Wirt’s hobbies and experience shows that the world of video editing is nothing new.

“When I was 16, I used to work for Comcast editing high school football footage,” Wirt said. “The office was right behind my school in Panama City, so I’d walk over after class and help edit. I liked it, and I got good experience and money for a 16-year-old.”

In college, Wirt began his studies in communication. Consequentially, he was often around production studios and video rooms. While working at a news station as a teleprompter in college, one of Wirt’s friends, a junior editor, learned of his skills and commissioned Wirt to do side editing.

“I would do things like take two-hour videos and cut them down to 60 seconds,” Wirt said.

After graduating, he kept up his hobby of video editing and has since edited more than 300 YouTube videos on his personal account.

Finding Time to Train

Training for a new job is one thing, but doing so while still working full-time in another position presents an entirely different challenge.

To keep up with the demands of the Art Department, Wirt has been using his free time to self-train and prepare for his first assignments as an editor.

“My routine now is to get up, hit the gym, get here at 7 a.m. to start working through tutorials, do my day’s work, then sometimes stay after to study up more on production,” Wirt said.

Watching the CGI effects in movies like Star Wars is part of what piqued Wirt’s interest in video editing and motion graphics. The designer-turned-editor shared how he recently learned to key green screen video, taking a moving person and placing them onto an entirely new backdrop.

A Solid Choice

Fate had a plan with Wirt.

When he first heard of the need for a new editor in Production, Wirt recommended one of his friends. But the department needed someone with agency experience, so Wirt expressed interest, jokingly at first. Once the seed was planted, however, both the department and Wirt realized the advantages of having someone with an art background in the role.

“This is a way for my love of video and graphic design to fall together,” Wirt said. “I can’t wait to bring a design perspective into my editing here.”