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.

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!

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.

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