By Jeff Holt
Published February 17, 2022 in The Burg
Erick Olin lights up when he talks about living in his hometown of Galesburg. He remembers a golden era of Galesburg in the 1970s and 1980s, and he took some time recently to reflect on it all.
Q: How did you get into the insurance business and what do you enjoy about it?
OLIN: I got into the insurance business after spending almost nine years in the rent to own industry as a general manager. I was diagnosed in 2005 with Stage 4 malignant melanoma and it put a lot of my life in Perspective, as I had missed so much time with my children and family by putting in 50 to 60 hours a week. So, when I was approached about changing careers I made the decision to make the jump into a new career and started out as a captive agent with American Family Insurance and now as an Independent Insurance agent operating two offices - one here in my hometown of Galesburg and the other in Moline servicing the Quad Cities. I started out doing insurance and operating my own business for having more time for myself and my family but now really enjoy not only trying to save my clients money but also as a trusted Insurance professional helping all people understand insurance and their options for coverages for Auto, Home, Life and Business Insurance. I also offer Medicare Supplements and will be offering Q & A sessions Monthly at the OAKS here in town as well.
Q: Day in and day out, what is your motivation?
OLIN: My motivation every day is to be the absolute best I can I can be, not only in business but to be the best husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and friend as possible. To enjoy every day to its fullest. Life is short and when you are given news that I received at one time you realize how precious life is and how every day is a blessing to not waste.
Q: Who is someone that you look up to and why?
OLIN: Wow this is an easy answer. My father Willis Olin is a person I look up to and admire. He was the youngest of 10 children born during the depression and made so much of himself working 47 years at Maytag, he always found a way to provide for me and my Mom and my sister. His work ethic I try to emulate as he would work double and triple shifts at the factory, also his personality of never meeting a stranger and befriending everyone is a trait I do my best to also live up too. I only hope that I can be the man my dad has been.
Q: Growing up in Galesburg, you had some great athletes in your era as a 1983 graduate of GHS. What are some of your memories from Little League baseball and Babe Ruth?
OLIN: We absolutely had some great athletic teams while in high school especially our basketball teams who had some really outstanding players on them. In little league playing for the Indians and coach Stuffelbeem, I will always remember when one of our players was pitching and he took a line drive off his head. That was a scary moment. In Babe Ruth playing for First National Bank then Little King and all the talented players we had on both those teams as well as competing against the good teams from Tom's coached by Wayne Dennis.
Q: What was your neighborhood like in Galesburg growing up?
OLIN: Growing up on Beecher Ave was the absolute best time of my young childhood. We had so many kids on the street and had such a blast, it was never a dull moment growing up with so many great friends.
Q: In high school, you said that you turned to the working world and worked at the McDonald's at the Sandburg Mall. That was a thriving mall at the time in the 1980s and the place to go. What memories do you have from working there?
OLIN: The mall was the place to go hang out at that time and working at the McDonalds was a great experience getting to make new friends and earning my own income while learning responsibility. It was also my opportunity to earn money to purchase my first car a 1976 Camaro!
Q: You've become a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. How'd you become such a big fan of the Cardinals and can you talk about any memories you have of them in watching them in person?
OLIN: I was raised a St Louis Cardinals fan from my Dad, who is a huge Cardinals fan. I loved going to games in the 70’s and watching Lou Brock stealing bases and then the running redbirds of the mid 80’s when Vince Coleman just seemed unstoppable when he got on base. Those were such exciting times in Cardinal nation.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to brag about your family about or share with the community?
OLIN: I love to brag about my Family and it all starts with my wife and the love of my life of 27 years Cindy who has been my rock and my biggest supporter thru not only my career changes but was there side by side with support during my cancer diagnosis and the death of my mother the same year, I also have 2 wonderful children who have grown up to be wonderful adults now! Also, my Step Daughter who Cindy and I are just so proud of the lady she has become and also is an elementary school teacher here in town. And in 2005 she married a wonderful man who is a great son in law and father to their children and my 2 grandchildren who mean everything to me! My grandson loves baseball and is getting better year after year and My wife and I love to go watch his games and cheer him on. My granddaughter loves tumbling and competing in competitions, I am just so proud of them and love them so much!
Q: What is one restaurant in Galesburg you wish was still here and why?
OLIN: I would have to say Long John Silvers. Their fish and chicken and hush puppies are so good and it’s a shame that after being in town twice that we can’t seem to keep one open and going.
Q; Is there anything else you would like to add?
OLIN: I just want to say thank you for all the support Galesburg has shown me and like the old saying “ there is no place like home” Galesburg is and always will be home to me.
(You can reach Jeff Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org)