JRC Insurance Group Scholarship Winner – Fall 2019

fall 2019 scholarship winner

Nakoa Po – JRC Scholarship Winner, Fall 2019

Every semester JRC Insurance Group awards a $1000 scholarship to the high school or college student that writes the most compelling essay about why every family’s primary breadwinner needs life insurance.

This semester we received more than 120 very compelling essays, but after carefully reading through each submission, we knew we had a winner!

Mr. Po is currently attends Michigan State University where he is finishing up his first semester. Good luck on your finals and go Spartans!

We’ve posted Nakoa’s scholarship-winning essay below:

Nakoa’s Winning Essay:

As a child, my father was the center of my world. He taught me the names of the birds and flowers which filled the woods around our home, and gently guided my small hands in the creation of wondrous things from wood, wax and stone. As I aged, I came to understand just how central of a figure he was in our family life. His hands had raised the home we lived in, and planted the fields around it with all manner of foods. He drew our water from a well, and split firewood to warm the winter nights. He built, repaired and traded for everything we needed to survive, and ensured the family would want for naught. Through his works, we hardly needed money, thriving off the rich land we worked and existing in a pastoral paradise, isolated from the demands of the cacophonous, busy world on the other side of the fence.

As you can imagine, his death threw the family into wild disarray. One day he felt faint, the next he was in a hospital bed and a week later he had passed due to an inherited heart condition, at age 57. The house he had built felt empty, and the world started to close in. Unable to cultivate enough food to support herself and a growing child, my mother’s savings were quickly depleted as she struggled to find more permanent work. Then, our house was taken away from us, to be inhabited by a woman I would later learn to be my father’s ex-wife, who had been suing him for half a decade over non payment of alimony.

For three long weeks, my mother and I wandered without a home, sleeping under the stars on Maui’s warm summer beaches and eating through our last remaining savings. We were saved by the arrival of a plane ticket to Israel, where my mother’s side of the family welcomed us with open arms and gave her time to seek employment, and get her feet back under her.

Moving across the sea into a land in the grip of war with a culture hostile towards outsiders changed the course of my life profoundly. To this day I wonder who I may have become had I grown up on Maui, and what opportunities I may have had which were robbed from me by necessity’s cold hand. I love my father, and cherish the memories I hold of him dearly. However, he was not a responsible head of household. Not only was he devoid of life insurance despite being aware of his condition and the risk it put him at, his non payment of alimony and other decisions put the family at great financial and legal risk. Through the consequences I bore for his actions, I have learned what it means to be a man who puts his family first, and how I should act moving into the future as I begin to contemplate building my own family, and what life I wish to give them.

The greatest characteristic of those who choose their family as their first priority is planning beyond themselves. It is easy to treat events which occur after one’s death as inconsequential. After all, you’re not going to be around to experience them. However, when one becomes the breadwinner for a group of people, one’s own life cannot be the end point of any plan. When I become the head of a family, the first thing I will do is find a fitting life insurance policy, so that they may be protected against any eventuality. I have not inherited my father’s recklessness, nor his heart condition, but it is far better to be safe than to expose those you love to greater tragedy through your own ill planning.

In those weeks of homeless wandering, I experienced something many children never have to: the feeling of being entirely without a place to call home. Home is more than just a roof over your head, it is a place which defines you. A place you could look back on through a photograph many decades into the future, and still feel an unmistakable sensation of belonging towards. Through my labors as the head of a household, I wish to build my family a place to call home. A house in which my children can learn and grow, which will always have room for them even after they fly the nest into the wider world. Although the payments I will make towards life insurance may seem burdensome at the time, I will make them with a light heart knowing they go towards ensuring that home will never be taken away from us.

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Cliff Pendell

VP of Marketing at JRC Insurance Group
Cliff is a Managing Partner and Co-Founder at JRC. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.
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