Stories of Everyday Families Showcase the Important Financial Protection Insurance Provides

Arlington, Va. – August 12, 2013 – The nonprofit LIFE Foundation today announced the winners of its 18th annual realLIFEstories Client Recognition Program, honoring licensed insurance professionals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to client service, and through their insurance advice and assistance, have helped families in times of great financial need.

In addition to recognizing the work of these agents, the realLIFEstories program tells the stories of the clients who have benefited from their guidance. These are families that have experienced first-hand the financial security that insurance can provide when facing the death or disability of a loved one. By showcasing these experiences, the program aims to raise awareness of the important benefits of life and disability insurance as part of a sound financial plan.

“Too often, people overlook the crucial role insurance plays when it comes to protecting and maintaining the financial health of their families,” said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. “The agents highlighted in this year’s realLIFEstories program and the stories of the families whose lives they’ve impacted, serve as a reminder of how important it is to take personal financial responsibility, and how an insurance professional can provide the guidance needed to make sure a family has the right protections in place should life throw them a curveball.”

The four honorees, along with their clients, will be presented with awards at a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas hosted by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). The presentation will take place on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. Eastern. A free simulcast will be available online at

This year’s realLIFEstories award-winners are:

  • Chris Manfredi, Allstate, Southold, N.Y.: : Don Wachtel and his wife Tonia were in their 30’s, working hard to raise their children and grow Don’s thriving Tile business. Agent Chris Manfredi personally identified with his client and friend Don, as he too was in his 30’s and striving to take care of his family and career. Chris made it his priority to help Don put a term life insurance policy in place, not knowing the fate that lay a decade ahead: Don’s inoperable brain tumor. After learning of his condition, the accelerated death benefit option of Don’s policy gave his family the gift of being able to spend more quality time together and travel. After his passing, the remaining money helped Tonia with final expenses, while grieving at home with her daughters.
  • Joe Grabar, MSFS, AIF®, CLU®, CFP® Fortress Financial Partners*, Raleigh, N.C.:: Tim Meredith was a former pastor who made the decision to leave the clergy and start his own IT business. At the urging of his wealth planner Joe Grabar, Tim increased his personal disability and long-term care insurance, as well as disability insurance overhead for his business. Just six months later, Tim suffered two strokes due to an iliac aneurism. The insurance policies are helping Tim and his family survive financially, while he focuses on his recovery and his employees keep the business running in his absence. Tim says, “Without this planning, I’m not sure where my family would be financially, or if my business would even still be alive today.”**
  • Kris Preble, New York Life, Portland, Ore.:: Shane Donaca had a passion and intensity for life – from racing motorcycles, to building a large commercial construction business, to spending time with his wife, Kim, and their three children. Because so many people depended on him, insurance agent Kris Preble wanted to ensure that Shane had adequate life insurance coverage. Just 12 hours after signing an amended policy, Shane was in a fatal motorcycle accident. Although Shane had signed the policy only hours before his death, his family received the full benefit. Kim was able to pay off all the company’s debts and still has the money the family needs to continue their life financially.
  • Christie Trahan, State Farm Insurance, Abbeville, La.: : Coleen Stoke’s daughter, Summer, was an ambitious 22 year-old student with a part time job and a child on the way. Licensed team member Christie Trahan saw Summer each month when she came into the office to pay her auto insurance. When she heard that Summer was expecting a baby, Christie often asked Summer to consider her need for life insurance. After much consideration, Summer decided to tap into her tight budget and invest in a life insurance policy. Just nine months after giving birth to baby Nathan, she was struck by a car while walking and lost her life. The funds from Summer’s life insurance policy not only allowed Coleen to give her daughter a beautiful funeral, but also to take a leave of absence from her job to take care of Nathan.

The LIFE Foundation is accepting applications for the 2014 program, starting September 2, 2013. Licensed insurance professionals and team members are encouraged to visit to submit their clients’ stories and receive more information.

About LIFE
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) inspires the public to take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. LIFE is the voice of choice for the industry providing the highest quality independent and objective information about life insurance and related products. To learn more about LIFE, go to

*Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. LPL Financial is not affiliated with the Life Foundation.
**These are the views of brokerage clients Tim and Alison Meredith and their family and friends. Their experience and views may not be representative of the experience and views of other clients and are not indicative of future performance or success.

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