Tennessee Agency Owner Who Created Nonprofit in Memory of Late Daughter Named Allstate’s National Volunteer of the Year
NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 12, 2016 /3BL Media/ – Allstate agency owner David Erb has been named Allstate’s national volunteer of the year, recognized for his commitment to breaking down barriers for people with disabilities. Inspired by his daughter Amelia’s diagnosis with acute microcephaly – a birth defect caused by stunted brain growth that results in developmental problems and seizures, among other symptoms – Erb and his wife started a nonprofit to help better the lives of those with special needs.
Amelia – called Milly by those who knew her best – passed away from the disease in August 2015 at just five years old. Milly’s Wings has committed itself to a simple goal: Install universal playground equipment to allow both disabled and non-disabled children to play together and promote unity.
“Milly’s joy was always the most magical when she was soaring through the air as if she didn’t have a disability at all. We wanted to help other kids like Milly experience some of that joy,” Erb said. “It’s incredible to be selected from so many amazing agency owners and financial specialists who volunteer their time every day to improve their communities. This award is so special to me, both on a professional and a personal level.”
Allstate’s volunteerism award is named after past agency owner Ray Lynch, who demonstrated a three-decade commitment to service. This is Allstate’s top national honor recognizing an agency owner or financial specialist for giving back and improving the lives of those in his or her community. The award comes with a $5,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation to the winner’s charity of choice – money that will further the work of Milly’s Wings.
Milly’s Wings is just one example of how Erb gives back in his hometown of Clinton, Tenn. The Ray Lynch Community Service Award honors Erb’s ongoing commitment to volunteerism, including his efforts to provide job opportunities for disabled workers – notably his agency’s administrative assistant. Each year, Erb serves as chairman of Alzheimer’s Tennessee’s fundraising walk, which raises $65,000 to $85,000 to benefit Alzheimer’s research. He currently serves on the board of 10 additional community-based organizations.
Erb was selected from 14 national finalists to win the Ray Lynch Community Service Award. Each finalist received a $2,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation to go to a nonprofit of his or her choice. Other finalists include:
John Alsop, Montclair, Calif.: Alsop’s community outreach extends to food drives, donating computers and printer cartridges to a local high school, and fundraising for an equestrian program that helps children with disabilities. Alsop also serves as advisor to the Assistance League of Pomona Valley, which provides dental services and new clothes to underprivileged children.
Josh Barger, Grand Prairie, Texas: Barger believes in empowering youth to become future leaders of their communities. For several years, he has inspired youth as a coach in the Texas Elite 7 on 7, a junior football league. Barger also mentors children in the Stampede Sports program, helping them develop the skills necessary to be successful on and off the field. His dedication extends to supporting customers and the staff in his agency.
Paul DellaUniversita, North Babylon, N.Y.: A founding member of the North Babylon Chamber of Commerce, DellaUniversita serves as vice president of the group and organizes a number of charity events for his community through the Parkdale Civic Association. He recently led efforts to support the North Babylon All Star Moms League, an organization that helps children with life-altering medical conditions. His focus is now on doubling his prior year’s goal of number of charities with which he’s involved.
Lisa Jusino, Chicago: Jusino is very involved with organizations supporting victims of domestic violence, including San Jose Obrero Mission, for which she served as board president for three years, and Mujeres Latinas in Accion, which helps women develop skills that can generate income. Jusino also partners with Project Onward, which brings art programs to autistic individuals. And as a devoted anti-violence advocate in Chicago, Jusino works to teach youth productive ways to manage conflict.
Carolyn Lankford, Madison, Ala.: Lankford is a member of the Women’s Economic Development Council, providing women with leadership and business opportunities. She also served two years as a “Leader on Loan” for United Way, working as a liaison during corporate giving drives. She’s a regular volunteer with HEALS, an organization that provides health services to lower-income schools. And despite her busy schedule, there’s one lunch date she never misses – with a local fifth grader, whom she mentors through Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Tom Paterson, Tallahassee, Fla.: After his experience with his own son Pierce, Paterson joined the board of directors for the Hang Tough Foundation, which takes a holistic approach to caring for families with children affected by chronic or life-threatening illnesses. He continues his support of children through his role as a small group leader for kindergarten students at his church. Paterson also serves on the local YMCA board, where he is most proud of his experience volunteering with “Y Help Day,” going door-to-door asking families in troubled areas how the YMCA can help them.
Marty Randal, Pittsburgh: Driven by his own experience with cancer, Randal moved from fighting cancer to actively fundraising and supporting those who are affected by the disease. He is involved in numerous organizations, including Our Clubhouse and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Cancer Auxiliary, which provides hope and inspiration to people of all ages who are facing the fear and unknowns of cancer. Randal also has a strong focus on community support, helping with charity sports games and public safety days.
Rick Robertson, Gainesville, Va.: Robertson instituted a Community Cause program in his agency, spotlighting a local cause every 60 to 90 days with the help of his staff, customers and community. Together they have helped homeless families, supported families who have lost loved ones and worked with veterans. Robertson also volunteers internationally, having served on a missionary trip last year to Honduras to help rebuild communities. Robertson is affectionately known as the “Balloon Man” of Haymarket, Va., where he frequently volunteers at local events making balloon animals for children.
Armando Rubio, Tucson, Ariz.: A veteran of the Arizona Army National Guard, Rubio is an active member of his church, where he serves on the finance committee and volunteers monthly to plan funding and help the church balance its budget. Rubio is also involved in his children’s school, where he raises money for teachers to expand educational opportunities for students.
Shawn Schmidtke, Portland, Ore.: Schmidtke’s volunteer work stretches from Portland across the globe. In addition to being foster parents, he and his wife previously supported a boy in India from grade school to college. Schmidtke was also involved in the Big Brother program and sponsors and supports “Kings for Kids,” a fishing tournament for foster kids. His local church has built houses for families in a small village in Mexico, and he supports several organizations that empower people in impoverished areas around the world.
Tammy Stubbs, Great Falls, Mont.: Stubbs’ volunteerism spans several local organizations, but her true passion is her work with local schools and youth empowerment. In 2015, with the help of another local agency owner, Stubbs hosted a competition between two local high schools called “Cash for Your Class” to provide them with funds to keep after-school programs in place after the community was hit hard by the economic downturn. She is also very involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters. In 2015, Stubbs hosted a booth for 11 days at the Montana State Fair to educate her community on safety.
Sam Tanoos, Evansville, Ind.: Tanoos has gone from raking leaves to clean up the property around a local domestic violence shelter to being a dedicated board member of the organization, Holly’s House, for six years. He has encouraged other local agency owners to help with maintenance projects and even rallied local businesses to donate equipment and materials that saved Holly’s House thousands of dollars in maintenance costs. Tanoos also supports an all-volunteer softball league for girls ages 4 to 18.
Brian Zimmerman, Pennsville, N.J.: Zimmerman’s community involvement is as diverse as it is impactful. He volunteers for, and provides financial assistance to, the Masonic Charity Foundation of New Jersey supporting causes that range from an assisted-living facility to anti-bullying seminars. He also supports his local fire department and organizes food drives for the Visiting Nurses of Pennsville Food Bank.
“Allstate agency owners and financial specialists take great pride in the work they do to bring out the good in their communities,” said Jeanine Raquet, senior vice president, Agency Operations, Allstate Insurance Company. “We're proud to support their amazing efforts to make lives better in their local areas."
The Ray Lynch Community Service Award is dedicated to the memory of past Allstate agent Ray Lynch of Fayetteville, N.C. Lynch built a successful agency around a remarkable record of service to his community. During his 32 years as an Allstate agent, Lynch earned many company honors. Lynch passed away in 1999. Inspired by his example, Allstate created this community service award in his honor.
About The Allstate Foundation
Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity. With a focus on building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, empowering youth and celebrating the charitable community involvement of Allstate agency owners and employees, The Allstate Foundation works to bring out the good in people’s lives. For more information, visit www.AllstateFoundation.org.