Turning Terror into Determination
May 12, 2017
Written By Adam Buckallew
Sarah Fuehring planted flowers in her front yard while her three- and five-year-old children played nearby on a peaceful summer’s day. Unbeknown to the her, danger slowly drew near. A drifter had wondered onto their property and leered at the family from the end of their driveway, which was near a highway.
A passing motorist blared his horn in alarm, and Fuehring turned to see the stranger approaching. Quickly, she herded her kids into the house. The man was a mere 10 feet behind them as she locked the door.
Not confident she could lock the other doors in time to keep the drifter out, Fuehring rushed her children to the basement. She instructed them to hide under the steps then retrieved a deer rifle from a nearby gun cabinet. While her children cried, she stood at the bottom of the steps and listened to the footsteps of the intruder upstairs.
Luckily, Fuehring’s brother-in-law arrived at the house within minutes. He had been the person who had spotted the drifter from the highway and honked to warn Fuehring. He chased the unwelcomed guest from the premises without incident.
Although no one was harmed, the experience left its mark on Fuehring and her family. Following the home invasion, Fuehring decided to take a self-defense class, but couldn’t find any being offered in her rural community. Determined to empower herself and other women, she made plans not only to learn self-defense, but to begin teaching it.
In 2009, Fuehring, an MFA Oil customer service representative, started a non-profit organization called Power Up to teach Rape Aggression Defense classes with the help of a grant from the MFA Oil Foundation. The classes typically consist of a two-day, 12-hour course.
“We teach women basic and advanced self-defense,” explains Fuehring. “The program also covers rape awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance. We take women through scenarios designed to push them emotionally and allow them to test their techniques. It’s all about empowerment and making sure women know they can defend themselves.”
Fuehring also offers a children’s program covering dog safety, fire safety, home safety, computer safety, bullying, good touch/bad touch and physical skills to use in case of an abduction attempt.
Fuehring wants all students to take away three things from her classes:
- No one has the right to hurt you.
- You don’t have the right to hurt anyone. Self-defense is the exception.
- If someone does hurt you, you should tell someone.
“The most important thing is to remember no one has the right to hurt you,” Fuehring emphasizes. “If everyone knew and believed this, there would be far fewer victims in the world.”
Fuehring is appreciative of the support she received from MFA Oil to found Power Up. Since its inception, the non-profit has enabled Fuehring to provided training to nearly 3,000 women and children.
“I am very proud to work for a company which is committed to giving back to community-based organizations that make a difference,” Fuehring says. “I never guessed I would someday work for such a wonderful company.”