Most of our commercial customers in Fergus Falls work in agriculture, so it’s not uncommon to find Fergus Falls branch president Jeff Stanislawski and ag and commercial lender Jerry Polejewski trekking across a field, documents in hand, to jump on a tractor or combine get more information or close a loan.
Both men grew up on family farms and realize the importance of timely work during critical times, so when Jeff learned one of their customers had emergency gall bladder surgery, was out of commission and needed help, they donned their boots and jeans and headed out to the customer’s farm.
For four hours, Jeff manned the gates, and Jerry jumped into a pen to herd 180 market hogs (weighing about 230 pounds each) up a ramp and into a truck. At one point, three of the hogs turned around and barreled down the ramp toward Jerry. Still, our bankers were happy to lend a hand.
“They needed help, and I grew up on a hog farm, so this was something I had done hundreds of times,” Jerry notes. “They found themselves in a pinch, and I am glad I could help.”
“There is no better feeling than helping someone in need,” Jeff comments. “I have worked with these particular customers for a lot of years, and when they needed help, there was no question but to help. When I reflect on the human aspect of life and relationships, some of the longest and strongest relationships come through experiences of helping – sometimes giving and sometimes receiving.”
Jeff and Jerry were honored with Bell Value Awards for going above and beyond to pay it forward. The Bell Value Awards are our company’s highest honor, recognizing the special ways employees take care of each other, our customers and members of the community.
“I am humbled by the recognition,” Jerry remarks. “To have fellow employees, who may or may not know me, vote for me makes me feel fortunate and blessed.”
“Since my time with Bell Bank, the values of the company have been extraordinary,” Jeff adds. “It means more to me than words can say that the company cares about me and the relationships I have here in Fergus Falls.”
Throughout the year, employees nominate each other for “How Bell of You” awards, which recognize those who excel in demonstrating our values of service and paying it forward. Those employees are then considered for Bell Value Awards.
“These programs exemplify the human side of our jobs,” Jerry says. “The recognition they provide gives merit and support to the idea that we are called to help where we can, even if it means getting a little dirty once and while.”
“The programs are great ways for co-workers to recognize each other’s great work that is being done each day at Bell Bank,” Jeff comments. “I personally like to hear about all the good deeds that are carried out by all staff throughout the company – it is what makes Bell a great place to work!”
Julie Peterson Klein, Bell’s executive vice president and chief culture officer, notes that this is a special year, because it’s the sixth anniversary of the Bell Value Awards and over 1,000 stories of kindness.
“I believe our only hope for the world is all of these random acts of kindness and pay it forward opportunities to help others,” Julie remarks. “They can truly change the world.”