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Community Service Award nominations under way

Philanthropy is a way of life for independent agents

By Robert N. Kretzmer, CIC

Independent insurance agencies are good corporate citizens. We are blessed with agents who have become pillars of their local communities by going beyond their business success and providing for less fortunate citizens. It is these acts of beneficence that we seek to recognize with the 14th annual Community Service Award sponsored by The Rough Notes Company.

Each year, beginning with the October issue of Rough Notes magazine and continuing through the December issue, we include a nomination form for the award (see page 90) as we seek to honor independent insurance agents or agencies that perform extraordinary service to their local communities. We accept nominations from agents, brokers, agency personnel, agents associations—local, state and national—insurance companies, industry partners, and philanthropic organizations.

Walt Gdowski, president and CEO of The Rough Notes Company, states: “Since our beginnings as a weekly publication for the insurance industry 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. Our award platform honors those who have given of themselves and their financial resources. Just as important, we hope the award will inspire other agents to pursue their own charitable endeavors within their communities.”

Last March we were privileged to honor Jim Pender and Gary Trippe of BB&T Oswald Tripp and Company of Fort Myers, Florida, for founding the Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers (DVIC), which helps disabled American veterans become established in insurance careers. The charitable work of all past winners is diverse, reflecting their wide-ranging interest. The common theme is a passionate desire to serve the human needs around them. (See list at the end of the article.)

We need our readers to help us identify independent insurance agents who are performing extraordinary philanthropic and charitable deeds. We will accept nomination forms from now through December 31, 2012, at the offices of The Rough Notes Company. We ask that you simply complete the nomination form following this article. Please take the time to nominate yourself or another deserving agent or agency.

Award winners will be the guests of The Rough Notes Company at an awards dinner held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in March 2013, in conjunction with the 24th annual Rough Notes magazine Marketing Agency of the Year celebration. The honoree will receive a sculptured and engraved eagle award recognizing his or her achievement. And, the winning agency or a charity designated by the agency will receive a check from The Rough Notes Company in the amount of $5,000 to be used to further its charitable endeavors. Rough Notes magazine will publish an article about the winning community service award project and agent in the May 2013 issue.

We encourage our readers to complete a nomination form for a deserving agent, broker or agency. Without your help we could not honor our wonderful industry, agents or agencies. Thank you in advance for taking time to help us identify, recognize and honor qualified candidates.

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

2012 – Jim Pender and Gary Trippe of Fort Myers, Florida. Founded Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers (DVIC) offering disabled American veterans a career path in insurance.

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 – Markham Rollins of Rye, New York and Mark Williamson of Little Rock, Arkansas (Co-Winners). Rollins builds homes in poverty-stricken Central America by raising funds and gathering people to construct housing. Williamson 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 in his community.

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 and 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 2013?

The author

Robert N. Kretzmer, CIC, is the executive director of The Rough Notes Company 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 or their local, regional or national community. To present winning agency or charity designated by the agency 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 positive impact (both short-term and long-term) that their efforts have made toward their community.

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, 2012. No nomination forms will be accepted after December 31. 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 no later than December 31, 2012.

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

6. Nominators may nominate themselves or their agency.

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.


1. The agent or agency will receive a check for $5,000 to be used to further its charitable endeavors.

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 award winner.

The awards dinner will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in March 2013.


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

The Rough Notes Company

Attention: Community Service Award

11690 Technology Drive

Carmel, Indiana 46032-5600


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Nomination Form (211 KB PDF)

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