Editor’s note: Last week, Knightline shared how, in learning about Father McGivney’s mission for the Knights of Columbus, Daniel Schachle discovered his own calling as a Knights of Columbus insurance agent. In this follow-up, we explore how the career has helped Schachle find fulfillment serving his brother Knights and their families.
Starting a new career can seem daunting, but when Daniel Schachle began his work as a Knights of Columbus field agent, he didn’t have to go it alone – his brother Knight, General Agent John Stice, showed him the ropes.
“He along with the prayers of Blessed McGivney motivated me, kept obstacles out of my way and helped to form me into the agent I became,” said Schachle. He added that this vocation, like any other, has its challenges.
“Many times, during the early, difficult years I spent time on my knees or outside of churches in my car asking Blessed McGivney to pray for me because I needed a break. He always came through.”
While Schachle experienced challenges at the beginning, he also found many unique advantages to his new career, like his flexible work schedule that allowed him to be more present with his growing family. Now he could attend his children’s school functions, often times as the only father there. He also found that the additional time with family was a source of inspiration.
“If I only had a couple of children, it would have been easy for me to take no risk and just enjoy the perks that my old career could provide me,” Schachle said. “There were times when I didn’t want to do the hard things, but I knew I was being called. My family gave me the motivation, the determination I needed to persevere.”
While Schachle enjoys spending time at home with family, he also takes pride in involving his family in Knights of Columbus activities.
“God has enabled me to get my children involved in the family business and pass on skills to them that I never would have anywhere else,” Schachle said. “He has enabled me to take them with me to K of C functions and help them connect with the larger Catholic community around the state. And he has helped me teach them that the important part of our work life is to ‘bring water’ to others,” Schachle said.
When people ask Schachle why they need insurance, his response gets to the heart of the matter.
“People need insurance if they love someone who is counting on their income or resources. For this reason, life insurance is needed by almost every person alive today,” Schachle said. “Life insurance is an emotional decision because it causes us to deal with our own mortality and make personal sacrifices that we won’t see the benefit of.”
Pointing to Scripture, Schachle emphasizes that God calls us to provide for the widow and orphan (James 1:27) and for our relatives and especially members of our household (Timothy 5:8).
“I cringe when I hear men tell me they are going to spend it all and make sure they write the last check when they die, mostly because that mentality is contrary to my faith, a faith built on the deposit and the legacies of those who went before,” Schachle said. “We are a faith that is about sacrifice for others to make the future better. We always have been, and it hurts me to hear when a man doesn’t have that mentality about his own decedents or the charities he cares about,” he added.
Over the years, Schachle has seen many families suffer from a missed insurance opportunity – a wife whose husband’s untimely death left her family with nothing; a brother Knight who waited too long to look for insurance, only to develop a medical condition that disqualified him; a businessman who thought he could rely on his employee life insurance plan, only to be laid off and lose it all. These stories drive Schachle every day to serve his brother Knights and their families.
Schachle has also seen families who, without their insurance, would have otherwise suffered destitution.
“One story that comes to mind is a newlywed 36-year-old passing suddenly a week after being approved for his $600,000 life insurance policy,” Schachle said. “His wife told us during the claim she was against it. She said she told him after the agent left that she felt they were wasting their money. He told her that he was a Knight and he needed to take care of her,” said Schachle.
Schachle also remembers meeting with an older couple. The wife, nearly 90 years old, could no longer take care of her husband and needed to hire a visiting nurse for him. It would have cost her everything she had, and she contemplated instead sending him to a nursing home. Then Schachle informed her that he already had a comprehensive Knights of Columbus insurance plan could help bring nurses into the home.
“When I told them he wouldn’t have to go to a home, we all cried together,” Schachle said. “I then asked about how long he had been suffering from being unable to take care of him and was shocked to hear it was over ten years. When we filed the claim not only did they get nurses, they got a check for over $35,000 representing the premiums they had paid since the day he first got sick. He lived with dignity for several more years in the loving care of his family,” Schachle said.
For Schachle, helping provide care for families in their hour of need is what makes his job worthwhile. Just as Blessed Michael McGivney would accompany parishioners on their deathbed, and comfort families for their loss, Schachle is there when things fall apart, to help survivors pick up the pieces.
While many companies offer insurance, Schachle said he believes no insurance company can compare to Knights of Columbus.
First, Schachle points to the Knights’ commitment to investing according to Catholic values. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors ensure no money entrusted to the Order will support businesses that donate to causes that violate Catholic teaching. Many major companies, for example, give to abortion businesses, but don’t often publicize this.
Second, because the Order is a fraternal benefit society, premiums turn into charitable impact. That includes scholarships for seminarians, Coats for Kids, disaster relief, to name a few.
Third, Schachle takes pride in knowing Knights of Columbus is true to its founding mission: to serve brother Knights and their families.
“Everything we do is centered around what’s best for our members. What’s best for them is always what’s best for us,” Schachle said. “The ethical standards of the Knights of Columbus are what drew me in, and as I have grown in my career, I’ve been able to see ‘how the sausage is made,’ and I am inspired by the fact that those above me share my view of the business. They are completely dedicated to building the strongest most ethical insurance company in the world.”
Fourth, Schachle believes in the Order’s principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
“Love – charity – is what drove Father McGivney and love is what drives me. Insurance in its simplest definition is a group of people who willingly associate to share risk, which is unity. Charity and unity were our Order’s founding principles. Charity for our fellow man and his soul, a charity that begins at home with those under his own roof,” Schachle said.
Today Schachle said this unity remains as necessary as it was when the Order was founded — a time when Catholics were openly disenfranchised by the prevailing Protestant culture.
“Many of the fathers today find themselves in the same situation. They aren’t fighting an anti-Catholic culture but one of radical secularism,” said Schachle. “Their additional struggle today is that many of them come from broken homes and may have never benefited from a good father as a role model. We can help.”
Fifth and finally, Schachle said that the Order provides a way for Catholic men to band together and address these problems.
“What other Catholic organization has the resources both financially and in manpower to defend the faith today? What other organization is a unity of Catholic laymen intent on evangelizing the world by our dedication to prayer in the Army of Our Lady?” Schachle said. “The time is here, from agents to members, to wives and children of members – we are here today for a reason.”
“I am so proud to be a Knight; I am blessed beyond belief to be a part of the financial engine of the Order as well. On multiple levels, our agents are a part of something much bigger than themselves. We serve the servants of God, and that is a huge honor and a huge responsibility,” he added.
When asked if he would do it all over again, Schachle said he would always want God’s will for his life and clearly this has been it.
“It has not only changed our future financially, but it has changed me as a man. The men and families I have met have drawn me closer to Christ. I don’t think I could overestimate the influence the people of the Order have had on me as I matured as a Catholic father. My only regret is, I know there are so many young families out there who need the same opportunities I’ve been blessed to receive. We must get busy recruiting them, not because we need them to work, but because we love them.”
Learn more about becoming a Knights of Columbus insurance agent
Originally published in a special weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for Knights of Columbus leaders and members. Access Knightline’s monthly archives