Displaying articles from 2015 | Clear Filter

Portsmouth Philanthropist honored by Association

COLUMBUS, OH – “In the state of Ohio, 1 in 4 children go hungry. In South Central Ohio, 1 in 3 children go hungry. We can do better. We need to do better,” said independent insurance agent Mark S. Hunter, CSRM, owner of Hunter-Williams Insurance Agency in Portsmouth.

Hunter received the 2015 Community Service Award for his selfless work helping the impoverished children in his southern Ohio community at the 2015 Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio, Inc. (PIAA) Conference on Oct. 9 in Dublin.

Hunter and wife Virgie established the Steven A Hunter Hope Fund in 2006 after their 21-year-old son tragically died of an unknown congenital heart defect while at tennis practice at Milligan College. Though young, their son was already well known in their community for his compassion and acts of kindness. “Steven was a special child with an amazing ability to connect with anyone he met. We knew when he passed away that we needed to find a way to continue his work,” Hunter said.

The Steven A Hunter fund originally covered expenses for clothing, books, tutors, dental and vision checkups, and whatever else the disadvantaged children needed. The purpose was to give these children the same benefits and experiences others get and to treat them with dignity, as their son did his whole life.

But after a few years, the Hunters felt they weren’t doing enough. That’s when they expanded their efforts to fighting childhood hunger in the community through the Steven’s Power Pack Club, which this year alone provides 825 students in 15 different schools with a package of food before they leave school every Friday.

The logistics of getting food to each of them at multiple schools each weekend is no small task, but the impact is tremendous. Jim Daehler, a close family friend who was Steven’s tennis coach, said the children’s eyes light up when they see the food packages on Fridays because they know they will get to eat over the weekend.

“No one can fathom the time and energy Mark invests in helping the children. Steven, too, had a great zest for life, and he got that from his parents,” Daehler said.

Other charities that have offered help to the Hunters are astounded at how the fund has grown beyond expectations. But whenever the couple wonders how they could possibly expand their reach, something positive happens and the fund continues to grow. Hunter sites a loving, supportive community as one source of strength. “We also have faith because God has given us a mission to help hungry children,” Hunter added.

Hunter and his wife were among others recognized to celebrate the vital role independent insurance agents play in their communities. “In the end, we’re just a couple of grieving parents who love children dearly, and we just want to help them while keeping the memory of our son alive,” he said.


Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of nearly 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agents thrive in a modern insurance marketplace by offering them resources and content in four areas critical for success: digital marketing, recruiting and training, perpetuation and improving the customer experience.


Agent honored for leadership in helping consumers

COLUMBUS, OH – “This business allows you to help people. Whether answering a client’s questions, stepping in to help when times are bad, or taking time to research and make a case for someone who had an insurance claim denied, that’s what gives me a sense of purpose. That’s why I love what I do,” said independent insurance agent Jeffrey T. Lewis, CIC, president of Putnam White Lewis Insurance Agency in Columbus.

Lewis was recently awarded the 2015 Excellence in Leadership Award for years of work helping independent agents support consumers at the 2015 Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio, Inc. (PIAA) Conference on Oct. 9 in Dublin. The event celebrates the vital role independent agents play in their communities.

In accepting his award, Lewis recalled the words of a previous PIAA president, who said no matter how much work he put into the association, he got back so much more. Lewis heartily agrees.

“Jeff is not in it for himself. Even when things are difficult, he is going to do the right thing. Jeff is going to help people whether it benefits him or not,” stated Lewis’ wife, Dawn, who said the extent of her husband’s integrity and professionalism is boundless.

When Lewis began his career at age 24, working in claims, he quickly realized he was positioned to help friends, business owners in his community and consumers, to make a difference right in his own town. Thirty years later, Lewis is still helping consumers, now as co-owner of the agency he joined as an independent agent 24 years ago.

In the 1990s, Lewis began volunteering his time to help other independent agents. “There is no question that Jeff is dedicated to this association and our goals of helping people achieve peace of mind. His loyalty and dedication are tremendous, and his commitment has never wavered,” said PIAA Director of Member Services Mike Grushon.

Jeff demonstrated that commitment by serving on numerous committees, in different board officer positions and then as president, all with the goal of doing the right thing for Ohio consumers. Then, instead of retiring after his term ended, Lewis stepped up again to represent Ohio agents and their clients at the national level. Lewis currently serves on the PIA National Executive Committee and as chair of the PIA National Presidents’ Advisory Board.

When not working at the agency or performing PIA National duties, Lewis spends time with his wife and three sons.


Ohio Insurance Agents Association

Ohio Insurance Agents Association (OIA) is the collective voice of nearly 1,400 independent agencies that employ nearly 10,000 Ohioans. We promote, progress and protect the professional advice and guidance only independent insurance agents provide. OIA members write 82 percent of the commercial insurance policies and 44 percent of personal insurance policies in Ohio. Our purpose is to help our member agents thrive in a modern insurance marketplace by offering them resources and content in four areas critical for success: digital marketing, recruiting and training, perpetuation and improving the customer experience.