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The Rough Notes Company Inc.



September 30
06:59 2020


Applications being accepted for independent agents, brokers and their firms for the annual Rough Notes Community Service Award

By Robert N. Kretzmer, CIC

Have you helped your local community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, or if you know a peer who has, we would love to know about that. And we may just recognize the endeavor through the Rough Notes Company Community Service Award.

As we launch the nomination window, we’re exclusively focusing this year’s honor on service provided by independent insurance agents and brokers around the coronavirus pandemic. If you and/or your agency have been providing altruistic concern for the human welfare of your local community, we urge you to complete the Community Service Award nomination form.

Your community sup-port could include but be not limited to money, property, or work for needy persons or organizations during the pandemic. Have you provided food, clothing, shelter, meals, transportation, moral support, or other positive reinforcement to your local community during the pandemic? If the answer to this question is “yes,” please don’t hesitate to complete the form for our consideration.

We are aware of agents and agencies providing masks, gloves, sanitizers, and other protective materials within their communities. And, we learned of local insurance agents who are providing transportation to and from doctor appointments, drug stores, and the grocery store. These and similar philanthropic endeavors are exactly what we are striving to uncover for our Community Service Award this year.

The Rough Notes Company has been an integral part of the independent agency system since its beginning in 1878 as a weekly publication for agents. For more than 20 years, the firm has been the national sponsor of the Community Service Award for Independent Insurance Agents.

Walter Gdowski, Rough Notes president and CEO, says: “Annually we honor an independent agent—or agency—for their special community service project and provide funds for that project. We sincerely hope that this award recognition will encourage other agents to begin or continue their service to others. I encourage insurance agents, brokers, insurance company representatives, and others to nominate a deserving agent or agency for his or her service to others.”

Since launching the award, we have unearthed some excellent local philanthropic projects—that have made a significant difference within the local communities. These include everything from building an emergency department to an existing hospital to providing horseback riding for children with physical disabilities and more. All of these wonderful philanthropic projects have been performed by local insurance agents who only want their local communities to be a better and a stronger place in which to live.

What are some of the qualities that all of our previous winners have had in common? First, and perhaps foremost, they are humble and seek no public recognition for their philanthropic deeds. They also have shown themselves to be sensitive, caring, kind and concerned. All, in their own way, have made a significant difference in their community.

Previous Community Service Award winners and their projects include:

2020—Bill Mitchell, Waterville, Maine: Supports the local Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA of Greater Waterville, and other community initiatives.

2019—The Accel Group, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Partners with Feed Iowa First to grow vegetables for Iowa families.

2018—SouthGroup Insurance Services, Ridgeland, Mississippi: Organizes an annual 5K to benefit two children’s hospitals in Jackson, Mississippi.

2017—Wayne Coffey, Hunt Valley, Maryland: Founded No More Stolen Childhoods, an organization raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse.

2016—Charlebois Trépanier Insurance & Risk Management, Gatineau, Quebec: Organizes multiple fundraising events for Canada’s Multiple Sclerosis Society.

2015—The Henriott Group, Lafayette, Indiana: With United Way, improves student reading skills and boosts parental, business, and organizational education involvement.

2014—TG Nulty, Otsego, Michigan: Provides funding for Urban Youth for Africa, which helps teens finish high school and become community leaders.

2013—James Colangelo and Richard Morello, Florham Park, New Jersey: Founded and operate foundation to cover expenses for families dealing with pediatric cancer.

2012—James Pender and Gary Trippe, Ft. Myers, Florida: Established foundation to help disabled vets find insurance industry career paths.

2011—Chris Paradiso, Stafford Springs, Connecticut: Provides funding for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

2010—Craig Moon, Middletown, Ohio: Created, developed, and funds an adult autism community living facility in Ohio.

2009—Barbara Galgiani, Modesto, California: Helped create and raises funding for a hospice organization in California.

2008—D. Gaines Lanier, West Point, Georgia: Reconstructs housing for poverty-stricken areas in Georgia and Alabama.

2007—Co-Winner Mark Williamson, Little Rock, Arkansas: Provides funding for a radiation therapy institute in Arkansas.

2007—Co-Winner Markham Rollins III, Rye Brook, New York: Constructs and raises funds for building houses for families in Nicaragua.

2006—J. Douglas Reichart, West Des Moines, Iowa: Chaired a local United Way campaign to an all-time record donation year.

2005—Jim McGovern, Belmont, California: Created and is the program organizer for a local California Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

2004—Harry Swimmer, Charlotte, North Carolina: Founded and operates a therapeutic horseback-riding clinic for ill children and adults.

2003—Jack and Jason Rua, Fall River, Massachusetts: Chaired a fund-raising campaign and key committee for a local United Way.

2002—Kenneth Felton, Vero Beach, Florida: Developed a local Boys & Girls Club in Indian River, Florida.

2001—Dick Lees, Pana, Illinois: Promoted funding for the addition of a new emergency room at a local hospital.

2000—Al Singer, Teaneck, New Jersey: Founded a program that feeds children in New Jersey and around the country.

These winners of The Rough Notes Company Community Service Award personify the idea of the “silent” heroes within our industry. They have all given of themselves to ensure that the underprivileged and infirm are not forgotten or left behind by their local communities. This is what builds strong communities.

In 2021, the winner will be honored in a special ceremony in Indianapolis, Indiana, COVID-19 permitting, in conjunction with the annual Rough Notes magazine Agency of the Year celebration. The agent’s winning organization or project will receive a check in the amount of $ 5,000 in the name of the winning agent or agency. And, the winning agent or agency will receive an engraved sculptured eagle as a memento of his or her outstanding community service project.

To nominate an agent, broker, or agency for the annual Community Service Award, please read the following Nomination Form, conditions, and prerequisites; then, please send the completed application with all attachments to The Rough Notes Company on or before December 31, 2020. All nomination forms must be received via mail and will become the sole property of The Rough Notes Company.

The author

Robert N. Kretzmer, CIC, is executive director of the Rough Notes Company Community Service Award program.

The Rough Notes Company

Community Service Award

Award Conditions and Prerequisites:

Click here to download a nomination form.

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 the winning philanthropic organization 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 in 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, 2020. No nomination forms will be accepted after December 31. Please note that no facsimiles or emails 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, 2020.
  3. All nomination forms MUST include a supporting letter from the philanthropic organization verifying AND documenting the insurance broker, agent, or agency involvement.
  4. No facsimiles or emails will be accepted.
  5. 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.
  6. Incomplete nomination forms or nomination forms without supporting documents will not be considered.
  7. 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 Agency of the Year awards dinner in Indianapolis.


  1. The philanthropic organization will receive a check for $5,000 to be used to further its 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 2021.

Mailing: Send all nomination forms and supporting documents to:

The Rough Notes Company, Inc.

Attention: Community Service Award

11690 Technology Drive

Carmel, Indiana 46032-5600

Click here to download a nomination form.

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