Brock Westfall

Serving the Lee County Fair

Brock Westfall, a property claims adjuster at Grinnell Mutual, believes in giving back and staying busy. Even if that means he never sits down.

A full life

Brock WestfallAn active of his Donnellson, Iowa, community, Westfall is a football, basketball, and tee-ball coach, sits on the Central Lee Community school board, and is also the president of the Lee County Fair board.

“I’m in and out, all the time, every day. My wife tells me she has the same hobbies because I have so many of them, and it’s the only way she can see me,” he said, only half-joking. Many of their hobbies are in turn dictated by the activities and interests of their children, 9-year-old Keagan and 4-year-old Shelvi, who are involved in sports and love the county fair.

Westfall’s high school sweetheart and wife of 15 years, Kimberly, is also busy in her own right, serving on various committees and coaching club volleyball.

Discovering a career

As a Western Illinois University student, Westfall was studying to become a probation officer and worked as a corrections officer at the Southeast Iowa Juvenile Detention Center.

The officers there conducted leadership and communication classes, where Westfall watched how the classes helped change teens’ perspectives from harmful to healing.

“We were like counselors,” Westfall said. He’ll still run into some of the former detainees around town, now living new lives as free people.

He found the work meaningful, and planned to continue in the job after graduation. Then he connected with a representative of Pekin Insurance at a college career fair. What he thought would be merely a good first job has ended up as a 17-and-counting-year career in insurance.

After working in Indiana for six years, followed by eight years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Westfalls knew they wanted to be closer to family. Luck was with them, and an opening at Grinnell Mutual brought them back to Donnellson, Iowa, where they both have deep family roots.

Trusting in tomorrow

Building up the next generation and a better future is still the crux of Westfall’s goals. Since he became president of the fair board four years ago, Westfall has recruited board members who have stepped up with new ideas.

They’ve planned a demo derby, a RAGBRAI meeting path, and a figure-eight race, all to build the fair’s profile and raise money for the community. Sometimes they meet five times a month, he said. “Giving back is a year-long work.”

He also uses the planning and teaching skills he learned at the detention center to help organize and host 4-H and FFA club projects and exhibits, allowing kids to learn valuable skills and connect to their community. “The fair is a way for people to interact with each other,” he said, “and to strengthen relationships in a community.”

County fairs are dying off, but people like Westfall recognize their value, as does Grinnell Mutual. Grinnell Mutual supported the Lee County fairgrounds with a donation after on the of buildings was used by a claims CAT team following a hail storm. Grinnell Mutual has also encouraged employee volunteerism by offering paid volunteer time off, something Westfall has taken advantage of.

But even as someone with a large capacity for involvement, Westfall understands his limits. “Sometimes you have to say no," Westfall admitted. "My family comes first and I want to watch my kids grow up in front of me.”

With that in mind, he continues to give. “I enjoy it. I don’t ever think there will come a day where I don’t.”


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