Even small gifts change lives

Bell Employee Pays It Forward While Serving His Country Overseas

In addition to working as a physical security officer for Bell Bank, Andrew Gaydos is also a U.S. Army Reserve major. He recently spent 10 months deployed as chief of a civil affairs team in Romania. But his service didn’t stop there. While working to help promote international partnerships, Andrew also found ways to pay it forward to local kids in need.


“Bell was very supportive of my military service. Our national defense is dependent on having employers that support the Reserve and National Guard. My supervisor and her supervisor received patriotic employer awards over the support that I got. Just to know that I work for people who genuinely care about communities and people all over the world, it makes a huge difference.” – Andrew Gaydos, Bell Bank Physical Security Officer


Bell Employee
Andrew Gaydos, Physical Security Officer
Fargo, N.D.

Recipient
Romanian Salvation Army

The Need
Growing up, Andrew Gaydos knew he wanted to be an officer in the military. Both his dad and great-grandfather were in the military, and Andrew says he wouldn’t have gone to college if he hadn’t gone to St. John’s University on an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship, which included monthly land navigation and mission training.

The first officer in his family, Andrew has served as a platoon leader in charge of 43 military police soldiers, and he spent a year in Afghanistan, assessing physical security of government facilities and recommending improvements.

When he returned home in 2013, Andrew was ready for a civilian job but still wanted to maintain a military connection, so he joined the U.S. Army Reserve, which allows him to work for the Army part-time.

Now Andrew puts his military experience to work every day as Bell Bank’s physical security officer in charge of making sure the bank’s buildings and grounds are as secure as possible and the policies and procedures are created to maximize security. He also spends one weekend a month and two weeks a year with the Reserve, often spends time after work on conference calls, planning training, and distance learning for the Reserve’s 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. Plus, Andrew recently returned from nearly a year in Romania, leading a civil affairs team.

“Civil affairs teams have been working in former communist countries that are now part of NATO to work with the civilian population and promote international partnerships and cooperation,” Andrew explains.

And his service didn’t stop there.

The Impact
While in Romania, Andrew used his Pay It Forward dollars to help the Salvation Army purchase school supplies for children and hygiene kits for families in impoverished areas.

“We would bring a doctor there, and the doctor would do checkups, and we’d deliver hot food,” Andrew remarks. “And then over Christmas, we did a joint venture with the Romanian army, where we did an angel tree program. We were able to sponsor 10 kids. Our partner unit sponsored 25. We also worked with the American air base that’s in Romania, and they sponsored 100, so we were able to distribute a lot of gifts to kids who don’t really have anything else.”

In celebration of Children's Day – a major Romanian holiday – Andrew, who has 3 kids of his own, helped arrange for U.S., British and Romanian troops to visit an orphanage to spend time with the kids. The soldiers brought a lot of pizza, along with toys and games the kids got to keep, and they spent the day playing football, Frisbee, board games and doing arts and crafts.

In balancing work, family time and serving his country, Andrew says having a supportive employer, like Bell Bank, is crucial.

“Bell was very supportive of my military service,” Andrew notes. “Our national defense is dependent on having employers that support the Reserve and National Guard. My supervisor and her supervisor received patriotic employer awards over the support that I got. Just to know that I work for people who genuinely care about communities and people all over the world, it makes a huge difference.”

Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.