Goodfellows: Wise-Mack boss issues a challenge, and his employees come through - Omaha.com
Published Friday, December 20, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 10:14 pm
Goodfellows: Wise-Mack boss issues a challenge, and his employees come through

Workers at Wise-Mack in Omaha usually pool their money to get the boss a Christmas gift.

One year, they bought company owner Bert Wise a television set for his office.

He figured his 40 employees might be cooking up something for this year, so he paid a visit to general manager Peggy McLarney.

She said he asked if they'd gotten anything yet.

Not exactly, she replied.

“I have a proposition for you,” he answered.

Wise, 51, asked employees to donate whatever they could to a fund he would more than match. The money would go to The World-Herald's Goodfellows charity, which provides one-time emergency aid and holiday meal vouchers to people in the community.

Wise's family has owned the Mack Truck distributorship since his dad, Bert Sr., bought it in 1976. The senior Wise had a long history of Goodfellows donations, dating to holiday parties for the Nebraska Trucking Association in the late 1970s.

Association members thought a charitable collection should be part of the gatherings, and a tradition of giving was born, the younger Wise said.

That history with Goodfellows prompted him to issue this year's challenge. For the first time, Wise-Mack donated under the company name instead of through the association because Wise wanted to raise awareness and perhaps influence others to give.

“Anonymity makes sense in some cases, but certainly there's times to say, 'We did it, so why don't you get on the bandwagon?' ” he said.

Wise wasn't sure why the truckers group initially chose Goodfellows, but he said he likes the fund because all donations go directly to people in need. The World-Herald pays all administrative costs.

Employees embraced the project, raising $600 in a week, McLarney said. Wise donated $1,200 for a total of $1,800.

They also outsmarted the boss. McLarney said they had planned to get a portrait of the younger Wise to hang alongside his dad's picture in the lobby of the business at 72nd and L Streets.

They're getting it anyway.

Contact the writer: Betsie Freeman

elizabeth.freeman@owh.com    |   402-444-1267

Betsie Freeman is a reporter covering social services, philanthropy and other topics.

Teen killed at Gallagher Park was shot in head as he sat in SUV, friend who was wounded says
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
New UNO center strengthens ties between campus, community
Threat found in Millard West bathroom deemed 'not credible'
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Nebrasks health officials to advertise jobs via drive-thru
Coral Walker named Omaha police officer of the year
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
Sarah Palin, Mike Lee coming to Nebraska for Ben Sasse rally
Prescription drug drop-off is April 26
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
NB 30th Street lane closed
State Patrol, Omaha police conduct vehicle inspections
Bernie Kanger formally promoted to Omaha fire chief
U.S. House incumbents have deeper pockets than their challengers
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Gov. Heineman signs water bill; sponsor calls it 'landmark legislation'
Senate candidate Shane Osborn to include anti-tax activist Norquist in telephone town hall
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Attorney: Man accused of trying to open plane's door needs psychiatric evaluation
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Jessica Lutton Bedient was killed by a drunken driver at age 26 in 2010. Thursday, the widowed husband and other family members will gather with others at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to dedicate a permanent memorial to Jessica.
Breaking Brad: How much would you pay for a corn dog?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new concession item: a $25 corn dog. For that kind of money, it should be stuffed with Bitcoin.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Dr. Welbes Natural Health Clinic
$129 for 2 LipoLaser Sessions with Additional Complimentary Services ($605 value)
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »