Jack Stone Insurance, Safeco's Change Agent winner for Veteran's Services

ECVSS receives check from Safeco Agent Jack Stone Ins.
March 1, 2019
By Safeco
Agency employee: Jerry Stone, Jack Stone Insurance, Brentwood, California (https://jackstoneinsurance.com/)
Nonprofit: East County Veterans Support Services (https://ecvss.org), Antioch, California

Jack Stone Insurance in Brentwood, California, has been named a Safeco Change Agent—earning a $2,000 donation from Safeco to East County Veterans Support Services in Antioch. Here, co-owner Jerry Stone talks about how the company gives back in the community.

Many people aren't aware of just how many worthy nonprofits provide needed services in their communities—and if you look, you can find a cause that is close to your heart.

That's what happened when I learned about East County Veterans Support Services a couple of years ago. I met with founder Josie Monaghan (the mother of a combat veteran Marine) and fell in love with what this great organization does for our local veterans and active military members.

While I didn't serve in the military myself, many of my uncles and cousins did—so I felt a strong desire to pay back others for the service they provided to our country.

ECVSS has been supporting veterans, deployed troops and military families as an "official" nonprofit since 2016, although the organization has been working to help these groups since 2005. It offers peer-to-peer meetings to help returning veterans transition into their next phase of life, along with free dinners, food and clothing assistance for those in need, and more.

On average, about 400 veterans a year receive services from ECVSS. Around 100 military families also attend an annual Christmas dinner party, where children receive toys, coats, shoes and other necessities.

At Jack Stone Insurance, our team is involved with several nonprofits: For ECVSS, we sponsor events such as dinners for veterans, our office serves as a drop-off point for donations to the food pantry, and we donate proceeds from our referral program. I typically visit with Josie almost weekly to help with whatever needs to be done—from working in the thrift store to helping to plan fundraisers. To me, that hands-on participation is more rewarding than just contributing financially. I try to spread the word on social media to get others involved, too, and I’ve had a number of people reach out asking how they could help.

I look at community service as a chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Most nonprofits can never have enough volunteers and donations, so it really doesn't take much—even something that might seem small to you can have a significant impact on a charitable organization, the people it serves, or both.

I've always wanted to play a positive role in the community through volunteering, and I've often wished I could donate beyond what my checkbook would allow. Thanks to this Safeco Change Agents award, I've fulfilled that dream—and our veterans will benefit.