Farmers agents support local programs

Dion Clisso/PrepsKC

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: March 18, 2011 - 9:59 PM

A high school football program is not just players and coaches. Parents, administrators, fellow students and local businesses are vital to the success of football teams on and off the field.

In Blue Springs two local businessmen are giving back to their communities through the towns two very successful football programs. Jay Greco and Kevin Hornick are both Farmers Insurance agents who are proud supporters of Blue Springs and Blue Springs South football.

These Farmers agents are sponsors of the Vision Sports weekly broadcasts of the Wildcats and Jaguars games. Each week Vision Sports broadcasts a home game for Blue Springs or Blue Springs South on AM 1030 KCWJ. The game is also videotaped and played on the Blue Springs School District channel on Comcast Cable.

Hornick and Greco are sponsors of those broadcasts but for them it is more than just an advertising vehicle.

“The important thing for me is that our both our high school football teams have their games on TV and broadcast on radio,” Greco said. “I think that media outlet for high school football is tremendous especially in a community this size. You look around the state and a lot of these programs don’t have these opportunities.

“As a business owner and as someone who has grown up in this community it is just a no-brainer to support something like that. Actually Kevin was on board before I was and when he asked me to be a part of this I jumped all over that I didn’t have to think twice. I told him I want to support these teams and it is great that they are both successful.”

Blue Springs and Blue Springs South have been two of the best Class 6 programs in Missouri over the last 20 years. Blue Springs won the state title in 1992, 2001 and 2003 and was in the state championship game in 2009. The Jaguars won the Class 6 title in 2006 and was in the championship game in 1996 and 2008.

Even though the Blue Springs football programs have been winners in the biggest class of football in Missouri, Greco said supporting high school football is important no matter how big or small the school or how many wins the team has on the field.

“I think there is a small town atmosphere,” Greco said. “The communities rally around the high school football teams. It’s the start of the school year and it sets the tone. I just love being involved in it.”

Both Farmers agents are from Blue Springs and played football for Blue Springs High School in the 1970s. Now that they have their businesses in Blue Springs it is their opportunity to do something for the community and school district that has done so much for them.

“Having played football at Blue Springs in 75 when I graduated and Fred Merrill was our coach I can still remember as a player business people that were associated at that time with the program,” Hornick said. “Times have changed but I remember guys that would come and see us, talk to us and provide us the meals.

“As a small business owner vested in the community and having kids that have grown up in the community it is our opportunity to give back. Those kids that are in the little league programs and high school programs if we can be a good mentor for them I believe that they will continue to do what we do when we are fat and older.”

The support of the local football programs is a personal decision for Hornick and Greco but that type of work in the community is encouraged by Farmers on a corporate level. Farmers is a proud sponsor of the Missouri State High School Activities Association state championships along with other high school sporting events in Missouri and Kansas.

Farmers Missouri Executive Director Paul Crosetti said this type of work in the community is very important to Farmers as a corporate citizen.

“One of our core values is community outreach,” Crosetti said. “One of our value propositions is that we provide that local service through our agents in the community. The fact is especially in Missouri and in our entire company it’s kind of in our agents DNA. They are real active in their community.

“Another thing at Farmers is we really want to be net givers. At the high school level we feel real good with budgets being as tight as they are it feels good to be support that.”

Hornick and Greco have taken that mantra from Farmers and become big parts of their community. And Hornick said it is something all Farmers agents should look into.

“For a Farmers Insurance agent we don’t do the big national things,” Hornick said. “You won’t see us in the NCAAs and all that. Our company wants to emphasize our commitment to our community through high school sports. This is a great opportunity for any agent in the Metropolitan area that you guys (PrepsKC) cover to identify themselves with their individual school in their community or where their office is and become a community partner with that school.”

The support isn’t just in terms of money. Greco has spent time as an assistant coach with the Blue Springs wrestling team and Hornick does stats for the Vision Sports broadcasts. Those activities are just another way they give time and not just money to support local athletics.

“It’s cool to be recognized as the stat guy or grappler Greco,” Hornick said. “After the game the commitment is still there on our part because we do other things in the community because we are both Wildcats and now I am a Jaguar too because my kids have gone through South.”

Having Farmers Insurance agents support the football programs is a positive and just a part of a large group of businessmen and community leaders that are giving back every day.

“We’ve got a guy now in our community Dr. (Joseph) Mackey that is the most incredible guy at taking care of these kids physical needs,” Greco said. “I feel like the little bit we are doing isn’t enough. I would encourage more people to get involved. I would love to see more Farmers agents in our community to become a part of what Kevin and I are doing just from the standpoint of having the opportunity to give back.”

Giving back is the ultimate goal. People like Hornick and Greco give to the programs whether they see increased business or not. Even though increased business is not their goal, being good community partners does drive people to their businesses.

“I just go to back that for most of our agents it’s in their DNA to help and give back,” Crosetti said. “There really isn’t that ulterior motive that ‘the No. 1 reason I am doing it for is to generate sales but that just feels like something I need to do as a businessman, businesswoman in my community.’ The less you force it you wake up some day and say wow I do have quite a few additional customers because of this.”

Dion Clisso is the Managing Editor of PrepsKC to reach him send e-mail to