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Dedication of Inspiration Garden and Heinkel Award Announcement


Inspiration Garden Rock Wall Mural
Inspiration Garden Bronze Plaque

‌‌President and CEO Matt Moore shared two announcements on Monday, October 5th during a live streaming broadcast to employees and agents.  He and Executive Vice President Teresa Magruder shared information about a special update to the Shelter Gardens in honor of the upcoming 75th anniversary, as well as honoring the recipient of the prestigious Fred V Heinkel Award. 

Teresa Magruder shared how the 75th anniversary committee began planning the celebratory year and had a desire to create a lasting memory to remind everyone of this important milestone for years to come.  The committee’s research showed how many exceptional agents and employees have contributed to Shelter’s success through the years, and the group wanted to include them in the overall celebration. 

“At the same time, we knew that the section of Shelter Gardens dedicated to honoring those who came before us was in need of an update,” she said.  “The two projects came together beautifully.”  The new area is called the Inspiration Garden.  The Garden features a wall of names of employees and agents who have passed away as well as a unique rock sculpture and a water feature. 

The Inspiration Garden will feature a bronze plaque that includes Shelter’s 75th anniversary logo and these words:  “As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we are inspired by the many Shelter family members who shared their time and talents during their careers.  We honor their memory by continuing our tradition of excellence through integrity and ingenuity.  We grieve the loss of these individuals, and we promise to continue the work they started.  Dedicated in conjunction with Shelter’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in 2021.”  The bronze plaque will be installed this fall and everyone is invited to visit this peaceful and lovely place when at our corporate headquarters in Columbia, Missouri.

The Heinkel Award is presented in honor of a Shelter employee who sadly is one of the newest names shown on the wall in the new area.  Each year, the Shelter Foundation presents the Fred V. Heinkel Award for Excellence in honor of Shelter’s first president and board chair.  It is given to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated excellence in any area of science, medical research, health services, education, history, agriculture, athletics, or any other field designated by the Shelter Insurance Foundation board of directors. The award includes a cash prize of $2,500.

Matt Moore presented the award on behalf of Shelter employee Gary Unterschutz who died in a bicycle accident in December 2019.  Gary was a Senior Personal Lines Underwriter who spent his 30-year career at Shelter.  He was nominated for this award by one of the many agents he served – Linda Jackson from Ft Wayne, Indiana.  She believed Gary was deserving of the nomination because he was actively working to become a living organ donor by donating one of his kidneys.  After his death, his organs helped 75 other people, giving them and their families renewed hope for the future. 

Gary is described by his family, friends and those who worked with him as one of the most giving individuals they have ever met.  In her nomination, Linda mentioned how Gary made a point to personally meet with each of his agents every year.  In addition to tips to help their agencies, he always thanked the agents for their hard work on behalf of Shelter.  He was greatly admired by many at Shelter.  Several of Gary’s family members were on hand to accept this award including his wife Cheryl, daughter Emily, son Erich, Gary’s brother Mark and his father Gary Senior.  “On behalf of everyone at Shelter, please accept this honor and know that Gary will long be remembered as a valued member of the Shelter family,” Matt Moore told the group.

In his closing remarks, Matt reminded everyone of what really matters.  “It is so important during difficult times to remember what brings us together and why we work so hard.  It’s for our policyholders who have trusted us to help protect them.  It’s for the employees and agents who work hard each and every day.  And it’s for everyone who came before us who inspire us to continue to give our very best effort.  People like Gary and everyone shown on the panels here in this garden, remain in our hearts.”  

The Unterschutz family has indicated they will use the award funds to continue to honor Gary’s legacy of giving.  


Shelter Insurance® is a group of companies with four personal lines property and casualty companies, a reinsurance company, a life insurer, and a direct internet marketing company. Shelter markets through Shelter Insurance, AmShield Insurance, Haulers Insurance, Say Insurance and offers auto, home, life, farm and business insurance services to customers in 21 states via a network of more than 2,000 local insurance agents and 2,100 employees. The firm’s headquarters is in Columbia, Missouri.  For more information, visit www.ShelterInsurance.com.