Siberia. Brazil. The Ganges Valley of India. And Punxsutawney?
Believe it or not, they’re all connected in a legacy stretching to nearly eight decades now – a legacy whose genesis came at the confluence of luck, love, destiny, and the need to get a passport notarized.
The legacy of The Reschini Group.
In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, young Rose Pugliese worked as a secretary at the Glenn Insurance Agency in Punxsutawney, engaged to be married soon to a local physician.
On the other side of the world, Joe Reschini worked alongside his father in the frozen hinterlands of Siberia, Russia, helping to build a hydroelectric dam for GE International. The next assignment would take young Joe to Brazil.
Joe’s uncle, a Roman Catholic missionary priest known to all as Father Joe, had returned to the area around Punxsutawney to recuperate after spending a decade in the Ganges Valley of India and contracting malaria. Father Joe and Rose Pugliese were good friends, as well.
As their Siberia project reached its conclusion, Joe and his father traveled to Punxsutawney to visit their relative, Father Joe, to hear about his exploits in India and see how his recovery from malaria had been progressing. But as Father Joe learned of young Joe’s imminent arrival, he began entertaining thoughts of some matchmaking.
In order to travel to Brazil to begin the next project, Joe mentioned to his priestly uncle the need to have his passport notarized, and Father Joe saw his opening. He took young Joe to see the lovely young notary at the Glenn Insurance Agency, Rose Pugliese.
Before long, that poor physician’s engagement ring had been returned, and within a year Rose and Joe married – with Father Joe presiding, no less – and moved to Indiana, where she began work with the Helwig Insurance Agency.
By 1938, still in the grip of the Great Depression, as Rose turned 28 and had started a family, her mother encouraged her to start her own business. So, with one dollar in hand, Rose received her agent’s license and began her career as a entrepreneur, appointed the agency principal for the region by the Saint Paul Insurance Company – and becoming one of the first licensed female agents in Pennsylvania. She overcame doubtful and dismissive male peers with her tireless work ethic, her constantly expanding base of knowledge, and her undeniable sense of confidence and pride in her company.
It took some ingenuity in the early days of the Reschini agency, as Rose used a “party” (shared) phone line, a manual adding machine, and a rented Underwood typewriter. The extended family helped, as well, with two of her brothers providing legal counsel and another brother, a doctor, becoming her first client (and her first claim, after a deer totaled his car!). Her sister and brother-in-law introduced many local merchants and coal company employees to the agency. Joe joined the business in 1941, descending into the coal mines of Indiana County and the larger surrounding regions to meet with workers there and offer them life insurance.
In time, the Reschini Insurance Agency began to steadily grow, and as it did, Rose and Joe became active and involved civic leaders – helping to either found, or greatly advance, such groups and activities as the Quota Club, the American Cancer Society auction, the Christmas Angel project, Troop 27 of the Boy Scouts of America, and so many more. They also played a key role in establishing the St. Thomas More Roman Catholic church (also known as the Newman Center) on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
In time, son Roger Reschini assumed leadership of the firm, sparking a period of aggressive growth across a number of fronts, including the spectrum of services offered, the number of employees and their depth of talent, additional locations and an expanded geographic presence, and active involvement and support of civic and charitable organizations and activities.
In the nearly eight decades since Rose courageously decided to launch her own insurance agency, The Reschini Group – led in the 21st Century by her grandson, another Joe Reschini – has become a recognized leader in property/casualty insurance and employee benefits programs across a footprint that the founder could have only dreamed of reaching.
Yet, we remain grounded, working every day to uphold the standards of excellence, quality, service, and civic duty that Rose and Joe displayed so wonderfully and consistently in their day. It is quite the legacy, and a legacy we continue to treasure and take inspiration from today.