Going Beyond: Mark Christman
Mark Christman, sales executive, AssuredPartners, was named the 2019 UFG Insurance “Go Beyond” agent award winner from our Gulf Coast Region. UFG is proud to donate $5,000 to his nonprofit of choice, the Police Unity Tour, in honor of his service, sacrifice and dedication to the law enforcement community.
“As a career law enforcement officer with over 15 years of field experience, I felt the need to both remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Mark states, proudly. “[Volunteering] is a life-changing experience.”
GOING BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY
As a career law enforcement officer with over 15 years of field experience, Mark Christman’s transition to insurance consulting was a blessing because he gets to spend more time with his family.
But he also knows that not every officer can be so lucky.
“This experience has forced me to be thankful for every single breath, reminding me life is fragile and completely unpredictable,” Mark says. “These families have experienced, and continue to experience, loss on so many levels.”
Mark is referencing the growing number of 20,000+ law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The officers’ names are carved into the memorial walls at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial marks the finish line for the annual Police Unity Tour—a memorial bicycle ride to raise awareness of law enforcement officers who have died serving their communities.
“I felt the need to both remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Mark insists. “This annual event has been a large part of my life and I dedicate hundreds of hours to training, fundraising and awareness to support those who have gone before us and to their families who bear the burden of loss.”
In May 1997, Officer Patrick P. Montoure of the Florham Park Police Department organized the Police Unity Tour to bring awareness to and honor law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. The tour started with 18 riders on a bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., raising $18,000.
“This past May, we were proud to announce that the Police Unity Tour was able to donate $2.6 million dollars to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing our total donations to nearly $23 million dollars,” he says.
Although riders train hard to complete the three-day, 250-mile bike ride through the hills of Virginia, it’s not about them. It’s about everyone else.
“The Police Unity Tour is near to my heart as I lost a good friend and partner in Captain John I. “Jay” McDonough on February 16, 2011 as part of the Volusia County Beach Patrol in Volusia County, Florida,” Mark remembers. “It is in his memory and with honor that I ride.”
Each year every rider participates in honoring a fallen officer. Mark is always humbled to communicate with those families and their departments and let them know he is participating in their departed loved one’s honor.
“It’s about who is on my wrist or my bike, his or her family, department, friends, and the ones left to carry on,” he emphasizes. “It’s about providing healing, support, counsel, and most of all, love, to those survivors.”
That’s why Mark is so excited about winning this year’s “Go Beyond” award. On behalf of UFG, Mark is reserving his donation to help surviving family members take part in the Police Unity Tour next year and he’s also donating to the cause on behalf of Team St. Tammany, the biking team he rides with out of Police Unity Tour Chapter 8 based in Florida.
“My goal is to keep this rolling as long as I can to help as many people as I can. I was awarded this blessing and I feel it’s my mission to carry it on,” Mark says. “Truly, it is my pleasure to serve.”
In addition to supporting the Police Unity Tour, Mark has a wonderful family including his wife of 17 years and three young boys at home. He volunteers as a soccer and baseball coach, as a timer at swim meets and at his parish. He stays active throughout the year and often supports local and national causes for well-doing and the betterment of people.
But when Mark is riding on behalf of a deceased officer, the magnitude of that feeling washes over him. He rides through tears of remembrance, joy and honor. And each year, the feeling at the finish is an emotional experience.
“To some, it’s a reminder of sacrifice and dedication, a place of honor,” says Mark. “And for others, a place of healing. As the memorial carving states: ‘It is not how these officers died, but how they lived.’