Wellness Spot Award

Wellness journeys

Each quarter, Grinnell Mutual recognizes one employee with the Wellness Spot Award for their outstanding commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Read their stories.

Ron's Story

Ron Nott taking a selfie on an indoor bike.

I believe that wellness has to be inclusive of both mental and physical health. I have shared with many how important it is to seek someone out to speak with if you are feeling that you are in a place that is not good.

Everyone struggles in their lives to some degree and it is so very important to know and to share the message that it is OK to not be OK. I have continually stressed the importance of mental health with my team and individual team members and have been a strong proponent of the mental wellness offerings that we have.

Mental health issues have affected my immediate family and I have shared that story with many. A recent situation hit me personally very hard. I reached out to the clinic’s counselor. We have had some great conversations and she has helped me more than I can express.

The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us and I think it’s imperative that we be intentional in checking in with each other. I post a positive message on Facebook each morning in the hope that it brightens even one person’s day. There is a lot of negative in the world today, and I truly believe that one kind gesture or word, can make a difference.

When we went to working from home and I couldn’t use the company fitness center, I knew I would need something for my home so I purchased an exercise bike. I post these workouts daily to help hold myself accountable, but to also encourage others to get up and move with whatever activity they enjoy.

(I think it helps that my Golden Retrievers are included in my posts as my “support team” as well.)

Whether you walk a mile, or run a marathon, every step helps with your own health journey. I recently found out that I am going to be a first time grandpa, and my daughters and my soon-to-be- born grandson give me even more reason to make sure I am around for a long time.

I would also like to recommend donating blood if you are able. I do so regularly and also post this on social media in the hopes that it will encourage one more person to consider donating.

Again, mental and physical wellness go hand in hand, and we all have to watch out for each other.

One of my favorite quotes speaks to both physical and mental wellness is:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

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Beth's Story

Beth posing with two of her children while wearing a running bib.Beth has been active as a Grinnell Mutual wellness ambassador for many years. While this isn't a recent health transformation, there is inspiration in Beth’s lifelong dedication and commitment to wellness.

You might say she was a wellness ambassador before there were wellness ambassadors! In this official role, she has planned many fun and engaging events for her department and has coached and mentored many others across the company on their health journeys.

When it comes to helping others, she is a friend first. She motivates and builds relationships with others. That has allowed others to be vulnerable and share their journeys with her. Beth has served as a role model to many Grinnell Mutual employees when it comes to wellness.

In her personal life, she prioritizes her health and consistently puts in the work every single day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She is always increasing her knowledge when it comes to nutrition and fitness and is willing to try new things, and usually takes a fellow employee along on the adventure with her!

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Justin's Story

After 20 years in claims with another carrier, my start date with Grinnell Mutual was Aug. 10, 2020.

Justin posing with his dog while wearing running gear. Snow on grass, but not sidewalk.Yes, THAT Aug. 10, 2020.

Starting with the company in a remote/field position, learning a new job during a pandemic, and doing this amid a catastrophic claims event created obstacles for my work-life balance, including my marathon training.

(Fun fact: I’ve been a runner most all my life, and a dad for most of my adult life. The kids got me personalized (Hawkeye) license plates many years ago that read RUNRDAD, which is very fitting.)

But early on in my time with Grinnell Mutual it became evident that a work-life balance is an essential part of the Grinnell Mutual culture. My leader encouraged me to schedule runs into my day, and later encouraged me to operate in the capacity of team captain for the Live Healthy Iowa wellness initiative.

Coaching is one of my passions. There are not too many life situations that give me more joy than watching a teammate do something today that they could not do yesterday. I especially enjoyed the 5K/half-marathon challenge as I got to chat with and encourage some folks covering a running/walking distance that they didn’t think was possible. Awesome stuff.

Not only does Grinnell Mutual allow me to take time during the workday to grab a quick run, it also encourages it! And I’m in a position to encourage others to maintain and/or improve their fitness. And then they give me an award for this?! What a deal! I’m IN!

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Mandy's Story

Mandy Hudnut, assistant vice president of Grinnell Specialty Agency, shares how she changed her life after having a stroke at age 40.

One year ago, yesterday, I was at my unhealthiest. On March 28, 2020, I had a right hemispheric stroke. My youngest son attempted to wake me up; I responded to him and couldn’t form my words or move the left side of my body. My husband awoke and realized right away that I was having a stroke. The ambulance arrived quickly and one of our own Grinnell Mutual employees made a huge impact on my life. Michelle Cooper was with me for the ride to the hospital and kept my focus on my boys the entire time. She didn’t let me worry or feel scared – she was such a blessing.

Family photo of Mandy with her husband and sons

After all the testing, my stroke was labeled as a cryptogenic right hemispheric stroke – meaning a stroke of unknown cause on the right side of the brain. High blood pressure and obesity can increase your risk of a stroke – which I fell into both categories. And at the time, I didn’t’ know I was pre-diabetic and had very high cholesterol. The biggest contributor they found after testing was a hole in my heart.

Though a stroke sounds like a terrible experience, it was a blessing in disguise for me. I decided to take control of everything within my power to lessen my chances of a second stroke. I immediately changed what I ate. I wouldn’t say I went on a diet, but I decided to be conscious of eating healthier foods. I only drink water – pop has been eliminated for the past year. My food changes alone helped me lose 60 pounds.

Four months after the stroke, I started adding in physical activities and have lost a total of 80 pounds so far. I am no longer in the pre-diabetic range. I still take four medications daily, but I’ve learned to let go of the things that are not under my control.

I also chose to take care of the hole in my heart. In October, I went in for a PFO procedure to close the hole. I now have a little device like an umbrella that is sealing the chambers.

I have learned that you should put forth all your effort to take care of the things in your control. And that there will be things not in your control that you need to let go of.

Sherrie's Story

I was super surprised to see that I won a Wellness Spot Award!

I don’t feel like I did any big feat, though I realized that all the little things I do add up to be a pretty big deal. Every day I’m aware of what I eat and how much I move my body.

Before I came to Grinnell Mutual I worked as a county horticulturalist and arborist. I walked miles doing prescribed burns and tree work.

Since I had kids and came to Grinnell Mutual I have to put more effort into activity. I still really enjoy spending time outdoors, but now it’s with the kids or by participating in planned group runs. I also like to use my volunteer time to plant trees and tag along with field trips for the kids’ schools.

It’s all about balance and everyone is different. I do love motivating others to join or point out things that I think would help others on their journey. Everyone just has to find what works for them and that can take time.

My motivation is to be strong and healthy, to be able to take care of myself and my kids for as long as I can.

Be well at Grinnell Mutual

Our employees are our greatest asset, so we do our best to keep them well. Learn more about the Larry Jansen Wellness Center at our home office in Grinnell, Iowa, which houses a free medical clinic and a fitness center. You can also read about the benefits that come with being on our team.

Learn about our employee benefits Learn about our Wellness Center