Testimonials

Rawhide Boys Ranch has been privileged to have the support of hundreds of friends. The following have all been guests, most to attend one of our famous Friday night Fish Fries, and have offered testimonials.

Michael Sajbel, Movie Director
"I was privileged to work at Rawhide for four summers during my undergraduate studies in film production at the University of Wisconsin, then UCLA. I experienced firsthand how John and Jan Gillespie related to the boys and why the program was so successful. Later in 1997, I wrote and directed, The Ride, a full-length theatrical movie for Billy Graham's World Wide Pictures. For the motion picture I was greatly inspired by the life of the Gillespie's and the program they developed at Rawhide. I'm really looking forward to seeing their book about the ranch, and who knows…it might be the basis for another movie."

Thomas Nelson, Outagamie County Executive
"The Rawhide Boys Ranch story is fascinating. I'd like to personally thank John and Jan for their continued public service helping hundreds of young men over the years make positive, constructive changes in their lives. It's a story which the region in particular and Wisconsin in general can take great pride in."

Paul Ryan, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
"Anyone that lives in Wisconsin knows about fish fries, the Green Bay Packers and probably Rawhide Boys Ranch. As a fifth-generation Wisconsin native, I appreciate the work John and Jan Gillespie have done in developing this program for young men. Almost 50 years ago Packer legend Bart Starr and his wife Cherry joined John and Jan to develop Rawhide Boys Ranch, where they have helped countless troubled boys and young men, changing the direction of their lives, giving them hope and a future."

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin
"Wisconsin is indeed fortunate to have access to the Rawhide Boys Ranch in assisting our juvenile courts in redirecting the lives of teenagers. Our state health and human service agency has been placing teenagers at the ranch with great success since the mid-1960s. In spending time with John and Jan Gillespie, I have heard some of the stories of those early days when they were not sure how they would provide food for the next month. I look forward to reading many more stories of perseverance and success when their book about Rawhide is published."

Ron Johnson, U.S. Senator
"I accepted an invitation from John and Jan Gillespie to visit Rawhide for one of their famous Friday night fish fries. The food was great, but the glow on the faces of the resident young men serving us was the highlight of the evening. The more I learned about the amazing success of this program, the more I believed this story needs to be shared with parents and social service agencies around the country."

Reid Ribble, U.S. Congressman (Retired)
"John and Jan Gillespie's remarkable journey will be captured in this book about Rawhide Boys Ranch. This is a family that cared more about troubled teens than they did about building their own empires, and Rawhide Boys Ranch has been a safe haven for troubled teens in Wisconsin ever since. Their connection with teens, families, and the community that they serve are documented in this wonderful story of faith, family, perseverance and redemption."

Mike Gallagher, U.S. Congressman
"During my first visit to Rawhide I was seated next to an alumnus in his 50's who had been sent to live at the ranch when he was a teenager. Rawhide took him in as a troubled teen and directed him on the path to success and happiness. Rawhide's history is overflowing with examples like this. The Gillespie's and the Rawhide organization, don't just change lives, they save them. In so doing they represent what is best about our country and community here in Northeast Wisconsin: service to others, hard work, and faith in God."

Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin
"During my four terms as Wisconsin Governor I became good friends with the Rawhide founders, John and Jan Gillespie, and made a point to visit the ranch at least one day a year. The press were not invited and I was able to spend several hours just visiting with the boys that had been placed there by our state juvenile courts. This was the most successful program I had ever seen, and the results were instantly evident as the boys shared their stories. I'm really glad John and Jan will document how this program works in a book. I'm looking forward to a copy."

Mark Green, Ambassador and Congressman (ret.)
"It doesn't take the visitor to Rawhide long to realize that it isn't merely the location or the facilities that make the boys ranch so \ successful, it's the love that John and Jan Gillespie and their dedicated team bring to the work that's done there. I'm excited they're writing this book about the Rawhide story because it will help parents and community leaders realize that—with the right values and vision—anywhere can be Rawhide."