Erie Insurance: ‘Everyday Heroes’ Agent Joe Rettura


[MUSIC PLAYING] I was down one day. Really down. I was working my butt off. I was putting in 18 hours a day. And I thought to myself,
there’s got to be a better way. And I said a prayer. And out of the blue,
I kid you not– it gives me goose bumps
every time I talk about it– the name Wendell Grimm
popped into my mind. So I grabbed the phone book. We had phone books back then. And I opened it up, and the
name Wendell Grimm Insurance and Realty was in there. So I thought, well, I’m going to
call that man and talk to him. I called. He said, no, I don’t really
have any interest in selling the agency at this point. You know, he was
like, I don’t know why you want to buy my agency,
we’re just this little thing. And then I told him the story
of how the name came to my head. Over lunch that day, we
struck a deal, shook hands, and within two months
I owned his agency. His story of his
life is so inspiring, and it was inspiring to
me and many other people, that I’ve passed it
on to my own kids. Wendell was about
four years old, and his brother was about six. His parents both passed
away, so he was an orphan. Wendell had an uncle
who lived in Pittsburgh. And at that time,
his uncle could only afford to take Wendell’s
brother, being an older child, and said he couldn’t afford
to handle a younger child. He stood there and
watched his brother and his uncle drive away. And that memory stuck
with him his entire life. From that point on, he
made up in his mind that, no matter what in his life, he
could accomplish it on his own and survive on his own. He inspired me to make sure that
I don’t make excuses to myself. Wendell was not an ERIE agent. He was an independent agent. We had, at that time when
I acquired his agency, there was 12 carriers. So I saw a lot of
opportunities there in what I could do with his
agency to really take it into, you know, the new world. We moved into
Uniontown, and then we continued on to grow
to the three locations that we have currently. Wendell was an inspiration. His inspiration was it doesn’t
matter where you come from, who you are, what you do. If you put your mind to
anything in this world, you can accomplish it. So as long as you stay
on track with your life and do what’s right, everything
else falls into place. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Daniel Ostrander

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