3 things Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day

via 3 things Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of America’s long-standing holidays that has been in place since the end of the Civil War.

When it was first observed, it wasn’t a three-day weekend known for mega sales, cookouts or the unofficial start of summer; it was a day of remembrance and gratitude for those who died in service to their country. But now, Memorial Day’s intended purpose is too often overshadowed by activities that celebrate the first long weekend of summer.

Gold Star families, the surviving family members of military personnel who died in an active duty status, often take offense at the commercialization of Memorial Day — particularly when the “fun-factor” of the weekend eclipses the reasons why this holiday was created. While others are excited about a day at the beach or a good deal on a refrigerator, Gold Star families contend with the intensified feelings of losing a loved one who was also a service member. At Memorial Day ceremonies across the county, they stand with the nation to honor their own service member, while struggling with the personal grief of losing a spouse, adult child, parent, sibling or grandchild.

Gold Star families have learned the hard way about service and sacrifice. As this Memorial Day approaches, here are three things they want you to keep in mind:


1. Understand why there needs to be a Memorial Day. In today’s world, some think Memorial Day is solely dedicated to the fallen from decades-old wars. While the sacrifices made by service members in all wars must be remembered, Memorial Day needs to be a respectfully recognized holiday for all Americans — now and in years to come. There is a potent message in the expression “Freedom is not free,” and in our post 9/11 world, personal freedoms can’t be taken for granted. All currently serving military personnel contribute in some way to protecting our freedoms; some pay dearly. Memorial Day is for honoring those who have recently died, too.


2. Know that service members die in many different ways every day. Many Americans think military personnel only die in wars. While combat deaths embody the ultimate sacrifice we’re all familiar with, service members die on other military operations, during training exercises, because of equipment failure and accidents, or by suicide. The numbers are staggering. According to the Department of Defense, since 9/11 more than 16,000 service members have died in non-combat circumstances, more than double the 7,000 who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is a disservice to gloss over the loss of service members in non-hostile circumstances. All made the commitment to serve for the greater good of the country.

Gold Star widow Diane Atkins, whose husband Marshall flew in combat but was killed stateside, has often felt his death was seen as less important because it happened in training. “Marshall was killed on a training hop to keep his skills sharp,” said Diane. “Everyone expects our guys to be ready when duty calls.”

3. Reconsider “Happy Memorial Day.” It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase “Happy Memorial Day” bantered about, but that doesn’t make it an appropriate thing to say — especially if a Gold Star family or military veteran who has lost friends is within earshot. “It’s like a slap in the face when someone wishes me a ‘Happy’ Memorial Day,” said Lars Williams, Gold Star father of Army Staff Sgt. Wesley Williams. “It’s been over 17 years of war since 9/11 and many still don’t get the point of Memorial Day,” added Lars.

Gold Star families fear their loved ones will be forgotten. Karen Funcheon, Gold Star mother of Army Sgt. Alex Funcheon, has had Gold Star Mother license plates on her vehicle for 11 years. In all that time, only three people have asked her about them. “If you see a Gold Star license plate, take a moment and ask,” said Karen. “The family will appreciate your actions more than you’ll know.”

This year, let’s replace “Happy Memorial Day” with “We will remember.” Even better: choose to attend a local Memorial Day ceremony. The mega-sales events at big box stores will still be available when the ceremony has ended.

What gets you up in the morning? | Heres my WHY

Brian Benedict.

Why do I get up in the morning?

So after leaving Police and Fire Insurance I’ve been in search of greater opportunities where I can truly and genuinely help our hometown heroes. I’ve learned much about the insurance industry and what Ive seen hasn’t been pretty. Borderline ethics that make me cringe. Sales over service and many more things. After confronting these hurdles I, without a doubt, know I can provide a better and honest service to not only our hometown heroes but to the neighbor next door.

The truth boils down to the attitude of the company. Are they willing to put morals aside for a dollar or are they going to train agents to listen closely and ficus on the need of the client.

Its been my experience that the little things make a huge impact on those we protect. Understanding policy language for example could positively or negatively impact you and your family when you need it most.

So what am I missing? I’m missing purpose. As a licensed life, health, property, casualty agent in 31 states I can easily be hired by virtually any company as an agent. The problem is my WHY. It keeps getting in the way of other agency owner goals.

Whats My WHY. For me it has everything to do with PURPOSE. Helping those who help others. Protecting those who protect us. Showing up at 11 pm roll call because an officer needed to talk. Helping with a claim, union event or simply being available and returning phone calls.

A few words you don’t hear inside many agencies. Care, be genuine, honest, integrity, help others. This is what Ive based my character on and I can’t be anything else.

Next Steps in Building an agency.

March is a great but April kicks it off.

  • Target Market to Protect. Protecting All First Responders, families and helping Businesses protect their employees.
  • Products to protect are a available through eApps with the ability to email for signatures making it very easy to get covered over the phone. Making the process easy, quick and streamlined.
  • Individual Products include Accidental death with return of premium option, life (adult,child), Cancer, Heart Attack, Accident, disability.
  • Group protection for cities, businesses of 3+ people available through Colonial Life.
  • Logo. finalizing ProtectorsLife.com logo
  • Website will be completed towards the end of the month
  • Marketing efforts will be deployed on google, and social media outlets
  • Coffee & Ideas. Would love to see how Protectors Life can help with your upcoming fund raisers and events (i.e. dances, golf outings etc)
  • Hiring. I will start hiring by the fall in Indiana and Ohio.

I’m looking forward to protecting families to first responders.

How can you help?

Spread the news and forward anyone needing direction or protection my way.

Be safe,

Brian Benedict

Protectors life


Visiting Hometown Heroes | BrianBenedict.com

Traveling last week, It was great to meet with Anderson Firefighter and PFIA rep Matt Cole and then to see Fort Wayne Police officer, Kimm Seiss.

Matt protects Anderson, Muncie, New Castle and Kokomo while Kim is making sure her police officers are cared for during this time of inclement weather and injuries.

Two members that are taking care of their own with claims, changes, and protection.  Understanding the importance of connecting and building a history of trust and integrity.

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Great job to both.


Tennessee family receives Christmas surprise when cop pulls them over for speeding | BrianBenedict.com

Delacruz explained to the Caperton’s two young boys that he also had to pull over Santa the night before for the same offense.

By Nicole Darrah | Fox News

Decherd Police Officer Tristian Delacruz.  Connecting with the community. 

“I told [Santa] that he had to slow it down just a tad bit,” said Delacruz. “He said, ‘You know what? You’re going to pull over a black Toyota today for their speed and their going to have two younger boys in their car, and I want you to give them this.’”

Delacruz is then seen giving the children toy cars and an action figure.

“Officer Delacruz was extremely kind and helped bring a little more Christmas cheer to our day,” Caperton told the news station. “[The video] was a good opportunity to remind people of the sacrifice some people have to make on holiday when they can not [sic] be with their families as they are helping protect ours.”

Watch Video via Tennessee family receives Christmas surprise after cop pulls them over for speeding | Fox News




Goals | Steve Heise with Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Great visit with Steve Heise, recently retired Montgomery County Tennessee Sheriff Deputy.  A long time friend and high school classmate.  Steve set goals years ago when he entered the Army and did his tour of duty at Fort Campbell Kentucky.  After his tour of duty he like many others got back in the game by entering the public service field with the Montgomery County Sheriffs Department.  He’s once again setting new goals after retiring.  I’m sure the plan is in place and his focus is intense.  Thank you for your friendship.

Steve Heise and Brian

What are goals?  Do you have a Goal?

A goal is only a wish if you do not write it down.

Here’s an easy way to understand what a goal really is and how to get it.   Whatever it takes!

  • G – Guide for Success
    • Write down a 1 year goal
    • Write down what you need to do each month to achieve the goal.
    • Write down what you need to do each week of each month in order to succeed
  • O – Overcome obstacles in your way
    • Understand obstacles will get in your way
    • Be ready to hurdle the obstacle by focusing on the goal
  • A – Analyze yourself
    • Do you believe you can achieve it
    • Do you believe in yourself
    • If you don’t you won’t, if you do you will
  • L – Live like tomorrow never comes
    • Ask yourself, “Are you doing your best?”
    • If not, “Why not?”
  • S – Start today
    • If you wait for just the right time it will never come.
    • Begin today.  Begin now!

Whatever it Takes.  Be the Difference!


How’s Your Approach | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Picture:  Brian with 30 yr veteran volunteer firefighter and Lincoln Nebraska Police and Fire Dept Rep Karla Houfek

Karla has a way about her that instantly connects with people.  Her knowledge of the fire service, a previous career with State Farm Insurance and add her son a Lincoln Firefighter, She has many commonalities to connecting with others.

Her approach is simple. She’s genuinely interested in protecting and caring for police officers and firefighters.  It show’s by her non-verbal habits like returning phone calls, eye to eye contact and the ability to listen intentionally.  She’s inspired me to write about one individual who impacted everyone she met.


How do you approach a person you don’t know and connecting within a few seconds?

While working in a executive lobby of a hotel in Chicago I heard one of the employees communicating and connecting.  Not only was she connecting but she was connecting with each person she met. It was so amazing that I decided to intentionally listen to her and write down what she did.  First she was enthusiastic and positive.  Energetic and excited.  She gave hope to each person and a positive outlook to everyone. Her pre approach was genuine and meaningful.  I took a few notes as to what worked for her.  She was friendly and very approachable herself.  Here are a few tips that I heard that day.

Even Firefighters & Police Officers can learn to connect.  Networking is essential whether on duty or off.  If you can take just a few of these approaches and make them your own you’ll be awesome at connecting.

Her Pre-Approach to Connecting

  1. Smile and be happy
  2. Enthusiastic and positive
  3. Excited to meet others
  4. Truly enjoying the moment
  5. Be the light in seemingly gloomy days

As I watched and listened, I could see her prepare her pre-approach.  It was subtle but you could tell she would turn it on.  It takes energy to connect.  That’s probably why most don’t connect well.  To be excited, positive and enjoy the moment you need to turn it on.

Her double dose approach

  1. Hi, what a great day?  What exciting things are you doing today?
  2. Hi, are you leaving today? What adventure are you heading to?
  3. Hi, what do you want in your omelet. I’m fixing special ones for everyone.
  4. Hi, are you going to enjoy this sunshine?  It looks like plenty of opportunities out there?
  5. Hi, Oh I love that (dress,shirt,tie,nails), It looks great on you.  What are you conquering today?

Did you notice what she did in all 5 of these examples?  She began each conversation.  She didn’t wait for someone to talk to her first.  In every situation I listened to, she initiated the communication with a question.  Asking a question lets the other person speak.  Especially if its an open ended question instead of a yes / no question.  Open ended questions take a bit of practice but become very good connecting tools.  She was a masterful connector.

How do you leave the conversation?

  1.  You have a very good day.  You’ve made mine great.
  2.  I can’t wait to see you again.  You’ve really impacted my day.
  3.  Thank you for being so nice.  You’ve really motivated me today.
  4.  This breakfast conversation was so good I wish I could make lunch for you.
  5.  I loved talking with you today. I hope I see you again.


As I sat there and listened a i heard a married couple give her a hug of happiness.  He told her that she started their anniversary morning off right.  She had no idea it was their anniversary.  They were so appreciative that they had met her.

She positively connected with each person in the room.

As I worked I was interrupted by a bottle of water being sat on my table.  As I looked up she said, “I’m heading out for the day.  Thought you’d like a water.  Have a great day.  It was nice meeting you”.

What an impact.


BrianBenedict.com “Build the Business of “U”


5 Tips to Multi-Tasking? | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Is the next generation able to multitask?

Pictured above:

Dylan Benedict, 16.

5 Minutes before leaving for summer football practice.

That answer would be a resounding YES!   Anything is impossible.  Juggling to do lists everyday in our work and home life is ever evolving.  Because of this we need some type of system.  An order or priority list so we can move our attention at a moments notice to the most efficient and way to accomplish our daily goals.

Here are 5 tips that may help you “multitask” more efficiently.

1. The morning to-do list

I’ve found my first 15 minutes to each day is making coffee, sitting at the table and writing a list of things I’ve been thinking about all night while they’re fresh in my mind.  I’ve also found that if something is keeping me awake at night that it helps to write it down and amazingly it leaves my brain long enough to sleep for a while.  Then I prioritize the list depending on whether they’re phone calls, texts, physical stops or computer entries.  I rarely have to travel back and forth from destinations because I’ve became fairly efficient with managing my drive depending on my tasks.  Doing This helps you prioritize and visualize your day more clearly.

2. Prioritizing the list

Which task is more important?

Prioritize the list to make sure the items with top-priority are handled one at a time.  Focusing on that tasks and not being diverted is more difficult than you might think.

At the end of the day review your list and see how you did.  The next morning you’ll need to take the remaining tasks and put them on the new list.

3. Group Certain Tasks

Do your best to try to group similar tasks which can be completed together.  If it’s a group of emails you can log on and focus on just emails.  If you’re tasks include social media.  Schedule a time to scan your social media pages, read post and share.

4. Are “U” easily distracted

Simple Solutions.  Turn off your phone.  Notification emails and other computer-generated distractions can prevent you from checking off many tasks because they grab your attention and soon you’ll find yourself way off the map.  Allow yourself time to concentration and focus.

5. Getting things done by delegating

Which tasks can you delegate.  Which must you do.  Could you delegate simple tasks like answering phone calls, replying to emails, writing social media postings.  Could easier tasks be simple enough to pass on to someone else?  In a world of virtual assistants and automation, the ability to upload, post, share and organize can be made a little easier.


A great site that can be used to help delegate and manage time better is TimeEtc.com.  It’s simple and you can try it free.


Brian JMT B&W 150

Brian Benedict.com | Build the Business of “U”

Teamwork to Success: Colorado Springs Fire Department

by Brian Benedict

Picture above: Gray Williams-CSFD Chaplain, Brian Benedict, Nathan Raulie Station 14, Brad Starling Training, Austin Pugh Station 4 Honor Guard, Mike Bennett Denver Sheriff Dept, Matt Seube Station 11

Within a few minutes of meeting these firefighters from Colorado Springs their hospitality made us feel comfortable and at ease.  Colorado Springs is a beautiful location and we met many amazing veterans and new recruits during our time there.  Each professional and many from cities around the country to be part of this wonderful organization.  As I left I couldn’t help thinking about the word Team.


What does it take to work as a team?  

No matter whether you’re a police officer or firefighter it’s vital to understand teamwork.  Inside each station, shift or crew I find that teamwork relies on a few things to make the team strong.

  1. Respect for one another.
    1. The ability for an individual to place value on others.  How do you show it to others?     How do you earn it from others?
    2. “You can’t make the other fellow feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody” Les Giblin

  2. Shared experiences.  
    1. All police and firefighters have similar experiences.  Attacking a fire or saving a life is the same no matter where we’re at.
    2. In order to succeed all must have an investment in your mission and all must believe in each others experiences.
  3. Trust
    1. Developing trust through your shared experiences.
    2. Trusting others with your life.
  4. Giving before receiving
    1. Developing a foundation of friendship relies on your ability to give first.
    2. Listen to others.  Ask them questions
  5. Enjoy the moment
    1. During difficult times remember we’re all in this together.
    2. In addition to having respect for another, your shared experiences, trust and an ear to listen is to enjoy the moment.  It’s gone before we know it.

I want to thank Colorado Springs Fire Department for a very enjoyable event.  I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Brian Benedict.com

Milwaukee Police Awards Banquet

by Brian Benedict

May 9, 2017 Milwaukee Police Awards Banquet.

How to Be Productive When You’re Tired

by Brian Benedict

What do all these guys have in common?  

Consistency.  Courage.  The ability to make a difference.

One truth is police and firefighters are extremely hard workers.  Most of them have several side jobs in addition to their careers.  Regardless whether its mowing, roofing or protecting our own with insurance products we do all this on empty tanks and embers.

The Norm?

Remember, your neighbors only confront one or two emergencies in a lifetime. You’ve responded to that many before 9am.   Add combating fatigue of mandatory overtime, running on fumes from side job and family obligations while keeping up high moral and maintaining professional attitudes and proficiencies.


So what’s a few tips to regenerate yourself after a long night of crazy calls and lack of sleep?  What’s their secret to staying productive and motivated when faced with daily exhaustion?  How can we kickstart ourselves when our shifts are filled with overdoses and adrenaline highs & lows.

How do you stay energized and inspired when the workaholic in us becomes robotic and numb?

 It’s in the routine.

Productive people understand the necessity of regular breaks.  That includes Phones but not fun.

Here’s a few tips to jumpstart your productiveness.

1.  Are you always waking up in the middle of the night?  Too much on your mind?  Keep a note pad next to your bed.  Each time your mind races and thinks of even the simplest project, write it down.  Try it for a night.  You’ll be amazed of the sleep you’ll get.

2.  Write a to do list as soon as you wake up. If you’re like me you’re brain has thought of many things it would like to accomplish today.  All the ideas are bundled up inside just waiting to be written down.

3.  Prioritize the list that you’ve just written.  Circle, star, number or however you feel like prioritizing, just do it.  Maybe it’s prioritizing by importance, maybe its prioritizing by driving route.  Which ever is the best case for you will organize your day and smooth out your rough spots.

4.  Do what you dislike first.  If you get in the habit of doing the things you don’t want to do first it’ll make getting your daily to do’s finished quicker.

5. Organize your desk, files and clutter.


Build the Business of “U”

The Hidden Power of Networking | KeytoSuccess.blog

by Brian Benedict
We all make use of traditional forms of getting new business in advertising, direct mail, brochures etc but networking is one form of marketing which, has been under-utilized. Until now that is.  Professionals are finally beginning to under stand the power of networking.

But what is networking?

In its most basic form, it’s word-of-mouth advertising but originated by you, not your customers. It involves taking every opportunity to raise awareness of your product or service amongst the people you meet. At a more sophisticated level, networking can be achieved by taking advantage of the formal networking groups or events that have been arranged purely with the idea of putting potential partners together.

But how can you, as a professional, become a more effective networker and take full advantage of the opportunities presented?  We are going to give you some key tips and ideas on how to be a better networker.

What are the key advantages of networking?

Networking has some very good advantages over the traditional type of marketing:

  • It’s free! Talking to someone costs nothing except your time
  • It’s targeted marketing in that it’s likely the person you are talking to has a direct interest in your product or service. Consider newspaper advertising, which will mostly be read by people who have no interest in what you have to offer
  • It’s face-to-face marketing unlike direct mail, adverts and telephone calls. You have the immediate opportunity to establish rapport.
  • You have the chance to mix with other professionals in other industries, which may open the door to new opportunities you had not previously considered
  • It’s not only a way of creating business but also a great way to solve problems and seek advice. Why sweat over a solution when someone has probably already experienced and solved the same problem? Ask and find out who can help you

Where to find a network

Finding a place to network, where like minded professionals are present, is not that difficult. While you should be networking all the time and taking the opportunity to promote yourself where ever you can it’s more effective if you can meet people who are there to do the same thing; you can get onto the same wavelength that much quicker.

Here are some possible networking opportunities to think about:

  • Your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI group or business club – as well as hosting their normal meetings (which are great networking opportunities anyway) they may hold regular networking sessions which are dedicated to putting business people together
  • Trade Associations in your industry may have an association which holds regular meetings. Although you are interacting with businesses in the same line you will still be able to find solutions to problems and pick up new ideas. Who knows, if you establish good rapport with another business, they may be happy to refer surplus work to you or tap into a unique specialization you may have?
  • Keep a look out for seminars being run for small business owners. As well as being informative, they are a great networking opportunity, especially over coffee and lunch when you have the chance to start a conversation going along the lines of, How do you think you’re going to apply that point we learnt this morning in your line of business?
  • In just this one question you will have found out what business they are in and one of the problems they are currently facing. If you’re lucky, you may be able to offer help as well ñ one extra sale!
  • Anywhere and everywhere remember to network all the time! Never miss an opportunity to tell people what you do. You may only get a successful hit in one out of a hundred contacts, but one sale may be enough to make it all worthwhile!Where and when are meetings likely to be held?

Formal networking events can be held over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast sessions are popular because it allows professionals to start the day on a positive note, leaving the remainder of the day free for business as usual. But how good are you at holding a sensible conversation at 7 o’clock in the morning? If you don’t look or sound your best in the early morning, then you had better find an alternative!

The best networking events are where you are free to work the room and not be tied to a table with food being served.

What to prepare

As with any marketing promotion, networking should be thoroughly prepared for. Badly presented introduction pitches lead to networking distrust. So what should you do before attending a networking session?

Step 1: Know your products and services inside out. If you are only just starting out, make sure you are fully briefed on all the inn’s and out’s of your product.

Step 2: Write and rehearse an opening statement to the question “What do you do?” This may sound an easy question but try thinking an answer on the spot and at the same time making it some good!  Not so easy. Write a clear and concise statement, which encapsulates everything about your business. Remember, this is your chance to impress! Having decided on your opening line, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. It has to be word perfect and confident sounding.

Step 3: Make sure you have enough business cards. You don’t want to scribble your number on the back of a napkin! Not very professional.

Step 4: Double check the venue and time. You don’t want to turn up late and miss any opportunities or appear to be lacking in time management skills.

Step 5: Dress to impress. Make sure you are neat and tidy. Be everything a successful professional should be.

Step 6: Leave your house/office in plenty of time to make sure you don’t arrive totally stressed out

You’re off!

You have arrived at the venue and if this is your first time, what are you likely to do? Find the nearest corner and pray that someone doesn’t approach you! Networking, especially the first time, can be nerve-wracking. It does take a degree of confidence but over time this gets better.

Find more helpful information at www.KeyToSuccessBlog.com