Pay it forward

When a Landmark team member with a reputation for giving made a small request for help, she was amazed by the incredible outpouring of support she receives.

Jackie Dubbert is the kind of person that a lot of folks might call a silent angel. A lending services specialist at Landmark Bank's downtown location, she spends her days interacting with countless customers in Columbia, many of whom she's come to call her friends. Warm, helpful and never one to be short on words, Jackie is just as well known for her acts of generosity around town as she is for her position at work. From her day-to-day interactions at the bank to the time and money she regularly donates to her favorite charities, the Children's Miracle Network and the Alzheimer's Association, she fills her days with the kind of work that helps to lift up others. 

"Everyone just loves Jackie," says Sarah Laupp, Strategic Initiatives Officer and Assistant Vice President at Landmark, who's worked with Jackie for almost 15 years. "She has a reputation for always caring and being willing to help everyone else. People just genuinely love her."

For years, Jackie and her husband, Randy, have used their vacation days to help raise money for charity, and Jackie has chaired committees at the bank to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network and the Alzheimer's Association for more than 20 years. She donates baked goods and her famous breakfast casseroles for numerous events that raise funds for different charitable organizations. The list goes on and on. Ask any of Jackie's co-workers to describe her, and the answer will likely be similar: She puts others before herself — always.

"For years, Jackie and her husband, Randy, have used their vacation days to help raise money for charity."

"People see Jackie's leadership when she chairs those committees at the bank and helps plan our fundraising events," Sarah says. "She does it faithfully every year. People see that from her, and they trust her."

For a bank of its size, Landmark is a surprisingly close-knit community. Many employees are friends outside of the office. They get together for barbecues. They've watched one another's kids grow up.

They share the good times and the hard times — and, when they can, they help to carry the burden.

It was June 11, 2016, when Jackie posted on Landmark's internal network, asking if anyone had a few fans she and Randy could use in their home as the weather warmed up. The request was simple enough, but when a few of the other bankers began asking questions to make sure Jackie had everything she needed, they found out the rest of the story. Jackie and Randy's air-conditioning unit had broken, right at the start of another one of Missouri's notoriously hot summers. Because the unit was beyond repair, it would cost $4,000 to replace, which was more than Jackie and Randy could swing at the time. So Jackie made the simple request: a few fans to get them through the summer. What she got, however, was more than she could have imagined. 

When a business feels like family

"When I found out she needed help, it broke my heart, and I wanted to do something," says Sarah, who started brainstorming ideas to help with Jay Campbell and Christie Robertson, who work closely with Jackie. "I'd heard other people say they wanted to do something, too, so I went to them to share my idea. They were right on board."

That idea was to set up an online fundraiser through the website GoFundMe to help raise the money Jackie and Randy needed for the new unit. With Jackie's permission, Sarah set up the GoFundMe page and sent an email to the rest of the Landmark team with Jackie's story and a link to the site. It was 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14.

"By the end of the day, we'd already raised $3,500 of our $4,000 goal," Sarah says, still amazed by the outpouring of support that came so quickly. "We had 55 donations that first day."

And the donations continued to come in. "We had so many folks sharing this," Sarah says. "I put it on Facebook because I knew some ex-bankers might want to help. Even Jeff MacLellan, our former CEO, donated, which was so cool. And there were so many amazing comments that came in as well — just former co-workers saying, 'We haven't forgotten you!'"

Although Jackie knew some of her co-workers were trying to figure out a way to help her, she had no idea the scale of their efforts. Sarah had purposely excluded Jackie from the internal emails so she didn't know what exactly was happening. Then on Wednesday, they gave her the good news: They were already over $5,000.

"She was so grateful, almost speechless," Sarah says. "She just cried."

"I just couldn't believe that anyone would want to do this," Jackie says of her reaction to the news. "I've worked on charitable committees for about 25 years, and my co-workers have always been so wonderful and generous. I've always known I worked with a great group of people, but I had no idea that it was going to come home and rest on my doorstep."

Perhaps even more amazing than the speed at which the Landmark team raised the funds was the way the group went above and beyond the initial goal.

"Perhaps even more amazing than the speed at which the Landmark team raised the funds."

"The way everyone jumped in to help was just incredible," Sarah says. "Once the funds were raised, our President, Matt Williams, and Credit Executive, Steve Tanzey, said they knew some people with HVAC shops, so they called up Bill Brunner."

Upon closer inspection, they learned that Jackie and Randy not only needed a new air-conditioning unit, but the entire HVAC heater also needed to be replaced. Brunner and his team moved around their schedules to arrive at Jackie's house at 8 a.m. Friday.

"The bank even arranged for someone to help rearrange the basement so they could get to the old unit," Jackie says through tears. "They thought of everything, and they took care of everything. It's amazing to think that this all happened within four days."

By that weekend, less than 80 hours after that initial GoFundMe link went out, Jackie and Randy had cool air in their home. 

Neighbors helping neighbors

In total, the GoFundMe effort garnered more than $5,200, raised by 99 people in just two days.

"I know it's cliché, but it's really like a family around here," Sarah says, reflecting on the whole experience, "and not just the bankers who have been here a long time."

Sarah goes on to talk about a brand-new teller who made a small donation to the cause.

"He can't be more than 20 or 21 years old, and he hasn't had any interactions with Jackie," Sarah continues. "But his comment said, 'I don't have much, but I hope this helps.' I mean, isn't that amazing?

It's just the Landmark culture itself. We're a community of people wanting to help each other."

Even today, talking about the love and support shown by her Landmark family leaves Jackie in tears.

"Landmark has been family-oriented from day one, from the time I was involved with them," Jackie says. "They're very generous and supportive. We've lost a number of people to various illnesses over the years, and people always step up to help.

"They've been there when family members were sick, too," she continues. "Our son was ill back in second grade — he's 31 now — and my co-workers collected money to help pay for gas and food while we were at Children's Hospital in St. Louis while he was being treated. We had a past employee who lost everything in his home during a tornado a while back, and his wife was devastated because they had a new baby and had just had a family portrait done. The bank paid to have a new portrait made."

Jackie pauses for a moment, as if deciding what story to tell next. 

"I say all of these things because I've never worked for another company that treated their employees the way that Landmark does," she says. "And if you asked me that six months ago, I would have said the same thing. We care about each other. We support each other. We do whatever it takes."

Sarah agrees.

"It takes a village sometimes," she says, "and we have a really strong village here."

"You know that jingle?" Jackie asks. "'Landmark, we're here for you.' Well, they certainly were for my husband and me."

Back to Blog