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The Rough Notes Company
Community Service Award

Honoring exemplary philanthropic service to others

By Robert N. Kretzmer, CIC

What do successful independent insurance agents, brokers and agencies have in common? These individuals and agencies share several characteristics; however, the quality that stands head and shoulders above the rest is their desire to give back to their communities and help others in need! The quotation, "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal," goes to the very heart of the Community Service Award.

The Rough Notes Company's 13th Annual Community Service Award seeks to recognize those silent heroes—agents, brokers and agencies—that want to improve the lives of others but don't want the glory for their deeds. Honoring these professionals may also inspire other agents and brokers to become involved within their local communities.

The Rough Notes Company will present a check for $5,000 to the charity or community service project of the winner.

It is a well-known fact that independent agents are an integral part of their communities who protect and preserve the assets of individuals, businesses and corporations; and, in addition to providing insurance products and services, many agents are making their communities stronger by their community service projects and initiatives. Again, our purpose is to express our thanks and appreciation for service for the common good.

We accept nominations from agents, brokers, agencies, agency personnel, agent's associations—local, state and national—insurance companies, industry partners and philanthropic and charitable organizations. To nominate an agent or agency simply complete the Nomination Form on page 103 and return it with all the supporting documentation on or before December 31, 2011. All Nomination Forms must be mailed or delivered to The Rough Notes Company. No e-mail nominations will be accepted.

Walt Gdowski, president and CEO of The Rough Notes Company, states: "Since our beginnings as a weekly publication in 1878, we have been an integral part of the independent insurance agency system. Our industry is one of very generous and philanthropic individuals. We want to highlight the exceptional charitable activities by independent agents. The real 'three strikes and you're out' should be solving poverty, health and education issues within our communities."

Award winners will be the guests of The Rough Notes Company at an awards dinner held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in March 2012, in conjunction with the 23rd annual Rough Notes Magazine Marketing Agency of the Year celebration. In addition to the $5,000 check to be presented to the winning community service project, the winning agent, broker and/or agency will receive a sculptured and engraved eagle award. 

Rough Notes magazine also will publish an article about the winning Community Service Award projects and the recipients early in 2012.

We encourage our readers to complete a Nomination Form for a deserving agent, broker or agency for our prestigious award. Thank you, in advance, for taking your valuable time to help us identify qualified candidates.

Here is a listing of the previous award winners and their special community service projects:

• 2011—Chris Paradiso of Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Provides creative and passionate support for a children's hospital in Connecticut.

• 2010—Craig T. Moon of Middletown, Ohio. Instrumental in the planning, development, fund-raising and operation of a new farm for adults with autism.

• 2009—Barbara Galgiani of Modesto, California. Raised significant funds for the nonprofit Hospice of San Joaquin and started its fund-raising auxiliary.

• 2008—D. Gaines Lanier of West Point, Georgia. Financially supports poverty housing reconstruction projects in Georgia and Alabama, helping the less fortunate afford housing.

• 2007-(Co-Winner) Markham Rollins of Rye Brook, New York. Builds homes in poverty-stricken Central America by raising funds and gathering people to construct housing; and (Co-Winner) Mark Williamson of Little Rock, Arkansas. Raised significant funds to support a radiation therapy institute and started a special group to help support the ill.

• 2006—J. Douglas Reichart of West Des Moines, Iowa. Chaired and directed a major funding campaign for the United Way in his community.

• 2005—Jim McGovern of Belmont, California. Organized a special fund-raising walk to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation.

• 2004—Harry Swimmer of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded and operates a therapeutic horseback riding clinic for autistic and other ill children and adults.

• 2003—Jack and Jason Rua of Fall River, Massachusetts. Chaired and directed one of the most successful fund-raising campaigns for the United Way.

• 2002—Kenneth Felton of Vero Beach, Florida. Researched, developed and opened the first Boys & Girls Club in Indian River, Florida.

• 2001—Dick Lees of Pana, Illinois. Chaired, promoted and directed a funding campaign to build a new emergency department at his local hospital.

• 2000—Al Singer of Teaneck, New Jersey. Founded and operates People Against Starving Children, which provides food to disadvantaged children.

Who will be added to this prestigious list for 2012?

The author

Robert N. Kretzmer is executive director of the Rough Notes Community Service Award Program.

Award Conditions and Prerequisites

Purpose: To recognize and present an award to an independent insurance broker, agent or agency that has demonstrated extraordinary community service within his/her/its local, regional or national community. And, to present the winning community service project with a check in the amount of $5,000 to help further its special cause(s).

Criteria: Nominees will be judged on their overall contribution (funds raised, people helped, volunteerism, etc.) to their community service project and/or initiative, and the positive impact (both short-term and long-term) that their efforts have made toward their community service project.

Nomination Period: Nominations will be accepted at the offices of Rough Notes magazine by U.S. mail, overnight delivery or hand delivery up to and including December 31, 2011. No nomination forms will be accepted after December 31, 2011. Please note that no facsimiles or e-mails will be accepted.


1. Nominators must complete the nomination form in its entirety and provide all supporting documentation;

2. All nomination forms and supporting documentation must be received at the offices of Rough Notes magazine no later than December 31, 2011;

3. No facsimiles or e-mails will be accepted;

4. All nomination forms and supporting documentation become the exclusive property of The Rough Notes Company. Further, the nomination form and supporting documentation may be used at the sole discretion of Rough Notes magazine to publicize the award and award recipient, and to promote the Community Service Award program;

5. A letter from the community service project verifying and describing the project must accompany the nomination form;

6. Incomplete nomination forms or nomination forms without supporting documents will not be considered;

7. Nominators may nominate themselves or their agency.

Note: Please detail only one service project per nominee.

Selection: Designated individuals from The Rough Notes Company and selected others will review all nomination forms and supporting documentation and select a winner and honorable mention recipients. The winner and honorable mention recipients will be honored at Rough Notes magazine's Marketing Agency of the Year awards dinner in Indianapolis. A representative of the winning community service project will also be invited to attend this function to be honored and presented with a check.


1. The winning community service project will be presented with a check in the amount of $5,000 in the name of the award recipient.

2. The winning broker, agent or agency will be presented with a sculptured engraved eagle.

3. Rough Notes magazine will publish an article to publicize the community service project and the award winner.

4. The awards dinner will be held in Indianapolis in early 2012.

Mailing: All nomination forms and supporting documents are to be sent to:

The Rough Notes Company

Attn: Community Service Award

11690 Technology Drive

Carmel, Indiana 46032-5600


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