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Paying it Forward | Canadian Insurance

Paying it Forward

Farrell Agencies helps a Saskatchewan family create a lasting memory to benefit their community

In July, 2012, Rachel Kraynick walked purposefully into Dave Nussbaumer’s Farrell Agencies office in Yorkton, Sask. He had agreed to meet with this woman, but was startled when she closed the door behind her, placed a binder on his desk and opened it to a picture of a sweet little boy.

“Do you know who I am and who he is?” she asked. Dave recognized the child immediately. Rachel is the mother of six-year-old Chase who died in a tragic farming accident in nearby Canora, Sask., on May 24, 2011.

Rachel was not a client of the brokerage where Dave is a partner, and she was not there to buy insurance. She was asking for his help to generate enough online votes to win a share in the 2012 Aviva Community Fund competition. Her dream was to build a splash park in memory of her son’s kind spirit and as thanks to the small farming community for supporting her family through such an overwhelming loss.

“She came to me because my 2011 submission to the Aviva Community Fund for the Yorkton Skateboard, Bike and Walking Park won the $150,000 grant reserved for ideas from insurance brokers,” Dave says. “I’d been getting a lot of calls and requests for support and advice. But Rachel was the most persistent…and now I knew why she closed the door. We both shed some tears and I said I would help.”

Rachel told Dave that the theme had to be “pay it forward,” a charitable concept that Chase had learned in school and taken to heart. The idea is to do random acts of kindness and generosity, only asking the recipient to return the favour by helping someone else. In the winter of 2011, Chase came home from kindergarten with his “pay it forward” card and excitedly began doing helpful things like shoveling driveways and opening doors for others. That spring, everyone at his funeral received one of those cards to continue his good work.

“To be honest, I was worried that the chances of Aviva sending money to our region twice in a row seemed slim to none,” Dave says. “But when I do something, I do it to win; and Rachel had the passion, high energy and relentless drive to get the job done.”

They decided that Rachel would submit the idea on the Aviva Community Fund website, while Dave would tap into his winning plan and extensive network from the previous year’s Yorkton skateboard park initiative. That also meant bringing Farrell Agencies’ computer and social media whiz, broker Jason Forwood, back onboard, to create a memorable video with the help of a local television contact.

All 25 employees at Farrell Agencies’ four area branches began sending out emails to clients, businesses, friends and families. Other brokerages, including Western Financial Group, Hub International Insurance, Crawford & Danyluk Insurance and Birkett-Hassard Insurance, joined the campaign as well.

On January 29, 2013, over a conference call with Aviva, Dave and Rachel heard the great news that their entry was the 2012 Grand Prize Winner of $90,000. “We had a little laugh, and we had a little cry,” says Dave about this poignant moment. “The building of the water park is going to buy a little more time to help the healing process for the Kraynick family.”

When the Chase Kraynick “Pay It Forward” Splash Park opens this summer, it will reflect the little boy’s love of farming, sports and the great outdoors, and provide healthy, barrier-free fun for the whole community.

“That is Rachel’s ‘pay it forward,’ ” says Dave, “and it certainly is mine.”


Copyright 2013 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the March 2013 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.