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High Marks From Educators

The National Education Association Representative Assembly is an exciting and important gathering for the country’s educators. Every year, delegates from districts and states meet to share stories, learn new ideas, and set the agenda for tackling issues impacting public education. California Casualty continued our tradition of joining NEA Member Benefits to attend the conference and share the value of NEA membership.

This year’s RA was extra special. Not only were we able to connect with delegates from around the country, but the Member Benefits area was within earshot of the actual assembly. Brian Goodman, California Casualty AVP of Field Relations, was impressed as he witnessed the incredible dedication and energy of getting the NEA business done. “I was humbled and awed by all the organization and passion that went into the Assembly,” he said.

We work hard to honor your dedication to the teaching profession and your commitment to students and the community. It was gratifying for the California Casualty Partner Relations team to get a chance to greet many attendees who stopped by to say hello and spend time with the people they consider friends and cohorts. “We get members who have such an affinity for their local Field Marketing Manager that they want to say hello and share how close they feel with the Field team member they work with. These relationships are very real, and the delegates want us to know how proud they are of that partnership,” noted Brian.

An example of that appreciation comes from Ohio Education Association Regional Director Cristina Munoz-Nedrow, who shared how much she loves working with California Casualty’s Ohio Field Marketing Manager, Sharlie Trentman. “Sharlie has done an amazing job of building relationships with my staff in the field to promote the benefits of California Casualty. Just as important, she has built relationships with the local leaders and members in my region. I am always amazed at the number of members she knows and those who know her when I am at an event with Sharlie. She is a great ambassador for California Casualty and is always poised, professional and knowledgeable when attending local, regional or state level OEA events. I look forward to working with Sharlie for years to come, and want you to know that I so appreciate the work she does.”

Brian added that other NEA regional delegates dropped by to let us know how happy they are with California Casualty and all the company does for them. “They are very proud of the decision to be insured with California Casualty and want to say thanks.”

The working relationship between California Casualty and NEA Member Benefits pays dividends, especially for growing NEA membership. “Our Field team works as ambassadors for NEA Member Benefits, promoting the value and power of the organization. This partnership is strong, built on trust, respect, and a long history of providing exceptional insurance for educators,” Brian said.

 

Taking A Ride With First Responders

It’s not often the general public gets to experience the reality of being a firefighter or test out some of their tools. That’s why our New Jersey Account Relations Manager, Alina Fayerman, considers herself fortunate after spending an afternoon with the Wyckoff Fire Department. Alina always appreciates the opportunity to meet with the men and women who wear a uniform, but this visit was special. Bergen County’s new Fire Coordinator, Joseph Alvarez, invited Alina take a test ride in the department’s recently updated bucket ladder. Alina said it was a thrill to experience such an important piece of equipment for fighting fires and rescuing people. Alina also got to show off her special fire chief helmet.

TAKEAWAY:

We love hearing your California Casualty stories. Share them at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty, or tell your colleagues and family about our exceptional service and have them visit www.calcas.com to learn more about what we do and how we serve you.  

Wow, Look What You’ve Done!

You always amaze us. From great achievements, awards, and celebrations, you impress us with all of your many accomplishments. We’ve been lucky to be there with you for many of them.

California Casualty contingent and California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, celebrating Distinguished Schools with Mickey and Minnie Mouse

On the education side, California Casualty is proud to sponsor the California Distinguished Schools Awards and Gala. It was a thrilling night at Disneyland in April, as we honored the 162 public middle and high schools and 18 districts that were named 2019 Distinguished Schools and Exemplary Districts.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, thanked California Casualty for its help. “We couldn’t provide this platform of acknowledgement without our partnership with California Casualty, a long-time sponsor of our California School Recognition Program,” he said.

Nina Ericksen presenting the Distinguished School banner to Medea Creek Middle School

 

Our CEO, Beau Brown, expressed how fortunate we were to be a part of the special event. “We are elated to join the Department of Education, California Teachers Association and the Association of California School Administrators in congratulating all of the schools and districts being honored, especially the dedicated staff who worked so hard for this designation. Their dedication and innovative leadership has helped California continue to be one of the top states preparing students for graduation, college and beyond.”

 

The entire list of 2019 California Distinguished Schools can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/cs/yr19distschools.asp.

 

Meadville High Athletics Grant presentation

Athletics Grant presentation at Lewis
Middle School

Also in April, we announced the 64 public middle schools and high schools in 32 states that were recipients of the 2019 Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants. A total of $67,149 was awarded this year to help schools affected by tight budgets purchase equipment, improve safety or provide new uniforms. A couple examples included Lewis Middle School in CA, where the grant will help provide uniforms that will be shared by the basketball, cross country and Special Olympics teams, and Meadville Area High School in PA, where the baseball team will buy safety equipment and update the scoreboard.

 

The entire list of 2019 Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants awardees can be found on the California Casualty newsroom page, www.calcas.com/-/64-schools-cross-the-finish-line-with-a-2019-athletics-grant-from-california-casualty.

 

 

Caden receiving his Create Real Impact award

California Casualty is also a proud supporter of the Create Real Impact Contest, which awards students ages 14-22 for their creative works to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Educational Grants totaling $12,000 were awarded in the 2019 Spring contest, including Caden Turner’s $1,500 grand prize for his video, “Listen Up.” The Missouri teen was honored during a district school board meeting in April.

Other grand prize recipients were:

  • Ashlee Walkowiak, WI, in the writing category for her work titled, “Be Different”
  • Everen Graves, CA, in the music category for the song “So Much to Live For”
  • Lindsey Sanchez, GA, in the art category for the poster “Camera Filters”

Information about the Create Real Impact Contest and the Spring 2019 winners can be found at www.createrealimpact.com.

 

Karen and Field Marketing Manager DeeDee Tempeleton

And because nurses give so much, California Casualty gives back with the $1,000 Nurse’s Night Out award. Medford, Oregon ICU nurse Karen Dwyer was the most recent winner. At the check presentation in May, Karen said she will use the funds to buy a new bicycle for an upcoming cross country bike trip. “It makes me feel good to receive this honor, and it’s a wonderful way to show appreciation for the caring we give to people – especially as we start Nurses Week,” she said.

Oregon & Ohio nurses can apply for the next Nurse’s Night Out at www.nursesnight.com.

 

Tanya and NVFC’s Bob Timko with Jr. Firefighter recipient Robert Dowd

California Casualty has worked with firefighter organizations since 1974. We’ve provided support for various trainings, benefits and activities, as well as Firehouse Makeovers and Work Hard/Play Hard giveaways.

An important program that California Casualty sponsors is the National Volunteer Fire Council’s annual Junior Firefighter and Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Awards. The 2019 recipients are Robert Dowd and the Westport, Massachusetts Fire Department’s Explorer Post #744. California Casualty’s Account Relations Manager, Tanya Rigsby, helped present Robert’s award at the NVFC awards gala at the end of April. Robert remarked that it was nice to be recognized for the hard work he’s put into the fire service, and how important it is that California Casualty helps in the effort to develop future fire professionals. “The support that I have received from California Casualty has been unparalleled, and it has pushed me harder to be my best and helped me focus on reaching future goals that will put me at an advantage in life,” he said.

 

We also ask a lot from our law enforcement officers, with all too many losing their lives as they do their jobs. It is important that we remember and honor those who give the ultimate sacrifice.

National Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony

California Casualty was proud, once again, to attend the National Law Enforcement Memorial and help sponsor the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS awards.

Vice President of Partner Relations, Roxanne Dean, and Alina Fayerman, Account Relations Manager, represented the company as family, friends and the public honored 371 fallen officers from 2018 at the nation’s capital.

Roxanne and Alina were also present as the TOP COP Awards were presented to law enforcement officers from 10 federal, state, county, tribal and local agencies from across the country, for actions from the previous year that went above and beyond the call of duty.

California Casualty salutes the law enforcement officers for all the work they do to make a difference for their communities.

 

You all do extraordinary things, and California Casualty continues to thank you for your hard work. Educators have until June 30 to apply for a Music and Arts Grant at www.calcasmusicartsgrant.com, and until July 12 for a $7,500 School Lounge Makeover at www.NewSchoolLounge.com. First responders can enter to win a $7,500 Garage Makeover from California Casualty at www.Contest4Heroes.com. Pass the information on to your colleagues too. The entry deadline is October.

TAKEAWAY:

Learn more about the many resources and ways we honor the professions we serve at our blog, https://mycalcas.com.

 

 

Standing Beside You To Support And Celebrate All That You Do

CSFA’s Joe Stewart, Bob Hamilton and Executive Director Gene Gantt with California Casualty’s Tami Phillips and Roxanne Dean

At California Casualty, we pride ourselves on being there when you need help, or to celebrate your achievements. Recently, we have done both.

Helpful Giving

The terrible fire in Paradise, California, destroyed the entire community, including homes of many law enforcement officers and firefighters who faced the flames to protect others. The California Casualty CARES Committee, which assists the many groups we serve, donated to the North Valley Community Foundation Camp Fire Relief Fund, at the behest of the California State Firefighters’ Association. The fund aids public safety employees whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the flames.

CTA Controller Wei Pan
and Beau Brown

The California Casualty CARES Committee also gave $20,000 to the CTA Disaster Relief Fund. The funds will help provide financial assistance to CTA members who have experienced significant losses due to the fires in California.

We also learned that Paradise Intermediate School (PINT) was one of eight schools in the Paradise area that were either destroyed or too damaged to hold classes. The staff (35 of whom lost homes in the fire) was forced to find a temporary facility, 20 miles away in a vacant hardware store in Chico.

Christy Forward (left) celebrating with Reiner Light, Camp Fire Education Administrator; Kat Kennedy, PINT teacher; PINT Principal Cris Dunlap; Larry Johnson, PINT Co-Principal

Knowing the emotional roller coaster that the administrators, teachers and employees have endured, our Field Marketing Manager Christy Forward, who spent hours helping people while the fire raged, arranged to give PINT a $7,500 School Lounge Makeover to make their days at school a little more soothing and relaxed.

The gift was announced January 17, and Principal Cris Dunlap (who lost her home) was moved to tears as she said, “We’ve focused so much on giving students a learning space and place to be with their teachers and friends. As educators, we put others ahead of ourselves. It’s so nice that California Casualty recognizes the valor of our teachers and everything they are doing to be there for our kids and to keep the district going.”

The finished makeover should be revealed later this month and will be relocated to the school in Paradise once repairs are finished.

Roxanne Dean and Beau Brown presenting CARES Check to Kevin Michelson, CPOMF President

Meanwhile, California Casualty continued our decades-long support of the men and women who wear a badge and uniform in California. In January, the California Casualty CARES Committee presented a $15,000 check to benefit the California Peace Officer’s Memorial Foundation (CPOMF) scholarship fund, which is available to family members of California peace officers who have died in the line of duty.

“As a child who lost her father in the line of duty, I am very thankful for the foundation to help me in continuing my education,” wrote one recipient. “I deeply appreciate your support towards the fallen officers and supporting their families, and I promise you I will work very hard and give back to others when I have completed my student teaching.”

“I take pride in being part of your foundation and am grateful to your contribution to my schooling,” wrote another.

CPOMF also funds and organizes the California Peace Officers’ Memorial and the annual commemorative memorial service in May. California Casualty is honored to support such a worthwhile organization that provides so much to the families of fallen officers.

Celebrations

Beau and Award for Teaching Excellence Recipients

One of the most prestigious honors in public education is the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence. California Casualty has partnered with the NEA Foundation for many years to present awards. This year, 46 instructors, the most ever, were recognized. Each awardee’s school received $500, and California Casualty CEO, Beau Brown, helped hand out the awards at the NEA Foundation’s annual Excellence in Education Gala in February.

For over two decades, California Casualty has provided $200 Help Your Classroom grants to educators across the country to help purchase supplies or educational materials. Each month, eight recipients are chosen, and we get dozens of thank

you cards every year. Recently, our Washington Sr. Field Marketing Manager, Michelle Hawkins, was able to present the grant to Robin H., in Port Angeles. Robin, who used the funds to purchase a label maker for her school district, said,

California Casualty Sr. Field Marketing Manager Michelle Hawkins with Help Your Classroom recipient Robin H.

“Every year the district orders supplies to stock up for the entire school year. I was able to contribute to our supply closet. It was very fun to win.”

We are proud of the support we give to the groups to which you belong.

TAKEAWAY:

See some of the ways California Casualty gives back to the groups we partner with at www.calcas.com/newsroom.

 

Giving Back – Funding Causes We All Care About

California Casualty has a long-held tradition of recognizing and celebrating the charitable act of giving. In fact, our company’s two highest achievements – the Carl G. Brown, Jr. Award of Excellence and the PRIDE in the Code Award – are based on how individuals give to others.

As we celebrate our 105th year, we are proud of the support we’ve provided to the affinity groups you belong to, giving back in ways that made a difference for you and the people you work with.

In 2018, we gave almost $700,000 in grants, donations, awards and sponsorships that directly benefited fire victims, aided first responder and law enforcement families, recognized school and educator achievement, thanked nurses for their caring, and helped prevent teen distracted driving.

Some of the highlights included:

  • $83,000 in Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants, benefiting high school and middle school sports programs

    Plains High, MT Athletics Grant

  • $76,000 in California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence grants, in conjunction with the NEA Foundation
  • $39,500 to relief funds that assisted educators, law enforcement officers and firefighters whose homes or apartments suffered damage or were destroyed in California fires
  • $40,000 as part of a commitment to Impact Teen Drivers and the Create Real Impact program to end distracted teen driving
  • $21,600 in Help Your Classroom grants to assist educators in funding classroom materials and projects
  • $25,000 in the “Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll Be There” sweepstakes, with the NEA and NEA affiliates, to promote having enough insurance coverage
  • $15,300 in Music and Arts Grants
  • $8,850 in Work Hard/Play Hard first responder awards
  • $4,000 in Nurse’s Night Out thank you grants

 

Vicki Rodgers, CTA Member Benefits, receiving California Casualty’s CTA Disaster Relief Fund donation from Field Marketing Manager Norma Alfaro

Many of you may have also experienced the dedication of our Partner Relations Field Team, who presented at benefit fairs, volunteered at fundraisers and in classrooms, attended conventions and worked hand-in-hand with your group leaders explaining the power and value of membership.

One example is our Nebraska and Iowa Field Marketing Manager, Stephanie Whitmore. The executive directors of the state education associations she works with couldn’t say enough about the energy Stephanie possesses and the impressive work she does promoting group membership. They added that Stephanie is one of their best recruiters, and proves to them what a great partner they have in California Casualty.

What you may not be aware of are the countless hours and monetary donations made by our employees each year for youth sports programs, cancer research, the American Heart Association, local food banks, school supplies, holiday giving programs, comfort for homeless pets, and raising and training service animals.

Helping others is part of our DNA. Our CEO, Beau Brown, said, “The American heroes we work with give so much to help others, even in times of adversity, and we feel an obligation to say thanks by giving back in meaningful ways that let them know how grateful we are for all they do.”

TAKEAWAY:

See some of the ways California Casualty gives back to the groups we partner with at www.calcas.com/newsroom.

In Your Community: Our Hearts Are In It – From Tears to Triumphs.

In these trying times, it’s an honor to work with so many who give so much for our communities. California Casualty appreciates all that you do, and our employees and executives are proud to be a part of your everyday lives. From disaster relief to prize giveaways, we are dedicated to making a positive impact for you, your peers and your families.

Knowing the toll the California fires took on the people that we insure, the California Casualty Cares Committee of the Advisory Board wanted to assist the many heroes who helped others at their own peril. California Casualty donated $20,000 to the CTA Disaster Relief Fund to help CTA members who have experienced significant losses due to the disasters in California.

California Casualty is also working with other groups, such as the Police Officers Research Association of California, California   Association of Highway Patrolmen, California State University System, and the California State Firefighters’ Association, to give an additional $12,000 in donations from the Cares Committee. These donations supplemented $7,500 given earlier in the year to help with the 2017 fires that struck Sonoma and Ventura Counties.

In an effort to remind insureds to check their policies and make sure they have enough coverage to protect against a disaster, California Casualty initiated Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll be There” Sweepstakes. Bloomingdale, Illinois 8th grade teacher Kathleen Nikides was the grand prize winner. She was surprised with the $25,000 award November 16 during an assembly at Stratford Middle School.

“I’m still flying high, I can’t believe I won. My husband and I will take some time to figure out what we will do with the money,” she said.

Kathleen found out about the contest from the Illinois Education Association, but never thought she’d win.

Teaching for 35 years, 30 years at Stratford, Kathleen loves advocating for students and helping them reach their full potential. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I still love every minute of it. It was great that my students were so excited when they learned that I had won.”

Kathleen is the co-president of the Carol Stream Education Association, which is an affiliate of the Illinois Education Association, and is thankful California Casualty supports education associations. “Thanks to member benefit partners like California Casualty, we feel valued, and that value is very appreciated right now,” she said.

More than 52,000 school administrators, instructors and education support professionals shared their journey and entered the contest.

Knowing how hard firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMTs work, and the danger they put themselves in to keep us safe, California Casualty invited first responders to sign up for the “Better Safe Than Sorry” Work Hard/Play Hard contest. Three winners – in California, Colorado and Oregon – will each be receiving a check for $2,250, to purchase the Liberty Safe of their choice, that they can fill with a collection of provided 5.11 tactical gear – a total prize value of $2,950. We’ll share who the winners are in the next California Casualty Connection.

In an effort to reduce tragic driving deaths and injuries, a total of $12,000 was recently awarded in the Fall Create Real Impact contest, sponsored by California Casualty and Impact Teen Drivers. The Create Real Impact contest encourages the creative efforts of youth ages 14-22 to prevent distracted driving – the number one killer of teens in the U.S.

Grand prizes were awarded for best video, writing, music and art submissions, and to schools that had the most entries. Create Real Impact is one of the many initiatives employed by Impact Teen Drivers to combat dangerous inattentive driving. Your kids, or students at your school, can learn more and enter the 2019 spring contest at www.createrealimpact.com.

 

TAKEAWAY:  Learn more about California Casualty’s commitment to the groups we serve at https://mycalcas.com/community/, and share your pictures and stories about the men and women who make a difference for our communities at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty.

A Salute to Our Amazing First Responders

California Casualty’s 9/11 Red Rocks Stair Climb Team

It’s hard to describe the emotions of being part of the thousands who turned out to honor first responders on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attack in New York. If you were lucky enough to be a participant, you know the mix of sadness, pride, and amazement that comes with each step at one of the many stair climbs held across the country. California Casualty helped sponsor a half-dozen memorial climbs, from California to Colorado and Ohio to Maryland.

We were honored to join firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement officers and medical professionals to remember the heroes who gave their lives to save others, and to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and its mission of providing emotional and financial help to the families of fallen firefighters. Students and teachers from various schools also attended, learning about the terrible events that day.

California Casualty’s Debbie Harris and Lorelei Seip at the Yellow Springs, OH, Stair Climb

Miami Township Fire-Rescue Chief, Colin Altman, who organized the 150-person climb in Yellow Springs, Ohio, was grateful for California Casualty’s help and presence. “Your field team not only provided snacks and bottled water, but they were supportive and wonderful, making a difference cheering people on,” he said. Chief Altman feels it’s important to teach young people who were born after 2001 about the impact of that day, and not to forget the heroism exhibited by first responders.

California Casualty feels a responsibility to the brave men and women who risk their lives to make our communities safer every day. Following another disastrous California fire season, in early September we donated $2,500 to the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) Police Officers Relief and Education Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund. The fund assists law enforcement members whose homes were damaged or destroyed by wildfire, often while they were working to protect others during the firestorm.

California Casualty’s Jana Charles and Roxanne Dean presenting a donation to PORAC Insurance Benefits Trustees

And in May, California Casualty also had the privilege of participating in two important law enforcement memorial weekends. CEO Beau Brown and Vice President for Account Relations Roxanne Dean attended the California Police Officers’ Memorial Ceremony in Sacramento, commemorating six officers who died in the line of duty in 2017. California Casualty provided the blue light pens used at the evening candlelight ceremony, and is a donor to the California Police Officers’ Memorial Foundation scholarship fund, which aids the families of fallen officers. Roxanne is also an advisor to the Memorial Foundation Board and sits on the Fundraising Committee.

Roxanne and Account Relations Manager Alina Fayerman represented California Casualty at the 2018 National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the National Association of Police Organization’s TOP COP Awards, held in the Nation’s Capital. The TOP COP Awards highlight the heroic actions of law enforcers and honors those who lost their lives in the line of duty. While everyone who attended felt moved by the events, Alina summed it up best: “It struck me that our protectors need protecting and their families need our love and support.”

 

California Casualty has partnered with law enforcement associations for almost 50 years and firefighter organizations for 45 years, and we appreciate their service and sacrifices.

TAKEAWAY:

Learn more about California Casualty’s commitment to first responders at https://mycalcas.com, and share your pictures and stories about the men and women who wear a badge at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCasualty.

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