By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
The Okemah Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture welcomed its newest member this week, cutting the proverbial ribbon and presenting the ceremonial ‘First Dollar’ to Farmers Insurance Agent Shannon Speir in front of her new downtown location Tuesday, February 5.
Using the moniker, Farmers Insurance – Speir Agency, the newest Chamber member is also celebrating a recent move to its new location, moving to 411 West Broadway about midway through last month.
Speir said she grew up in Okemah, attending kindergarten at Oaks Elementary and later graduating high school from the area. She left to attend college, but returned in 2005 and has been in Okemah ever since.
She said she only fairly recently started with Farmers Insurance, becoming a Farmers agent in August. Initially, her agency’s office was at 519 S. Woody Guthrie, across from Simple Simon’s, where, she said, several agents over the years have come and gone.
“Since I’ve been back in Okemah — about 14 years — there have been about six agents in and out of that location (on Woody Guthrie),” she said.
Speir, though, is here to stay.
“We were renting (at the old location), but I’m purchasing this building (at 411 West Broadway), so we are in it for the long haul,” Speir said. “I don’t want people to think I’m another one of those agents that was here, then gone … We are here for good.”
Speir’s Agency offers a variety of insurance and financial services, providing multiple options in protecting assets and equity.
“We do mostly home and auto insurance, but we also do business insurance, life insurance … basically, anything that can be insured we provide for,” she explained. “We help people protect all their assets and reduce tax liability for estate planning purposes.”
“Plus, Farmers offers a number of financial services, as well, so we also have a whole wealth management branch,” she added.
Asked her reason for wanting to join the Okemah Chamber, Speir simply said, “I want to be more involved in the community.”
“More” being the operative word in that statement as Speir is already highly involved in the Okemah community, making her joining of the local Chamber an addition to her agency’s already community-centered ways.
Farmers Insurance offers “a lot of opportunities to give back,” Speir explained, providing an allowance for agents to invest in their communities.
“Any chance we get to give back, we do,” she said. “Farmers will reimburse its agents up to about $4,800 per year for money that goes back into the community.”
“We have already given to local booster clubs and other sponsorships, and I give $100 each month to various teachers across the state,” she said.
The Speir Agency visits a different school every month — so far going to Vinita, Mason, Beggs and Okemah, Speir said — to give different teachers the opportunity to win a little extra cash.
While at the schools, they take with them “a fish bowl with contact cards,” which enters teachers into a drawing when they submit their contact information and give a brief description of what they would do in their classrooms with an extra $100.
“We then hold a live drawing to pick the teacher that will be the winner of the $100 at the end of each month,” she said.
The teachers’ information they collect, Speir said, is saved and basically archived, so if at the end of the year there is extra money, she can give more to the teachers.
Speir enjoys giving back to the community she and her family have called home for many, many years.
“Much of my family have been in Okemah forever … like my grandfather and his family, have been here for over 100 years, so when I was done with college, I came back,” she said. “This is where my husband and I are raising our kids and where we call home.”
“Giving back to this community is important to me,” she concluded.
She and her husband, Jordon, have two children: Jameson, 10, and Isabella, 7.
To learn more about her Farmers Insurance agency, give Speir a call at (918) 623-2476. Her agency can also be found on Facebook by searching Farmers Insurance Okemah, Speir Agency.