Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward Helps Woman Hospitalized After Jet Ski Accident

“I don't even think it can be stated how much it means to know that people can still find compassion, even for somebody they don't know at all. Thanks to everybody at Bell Bank – for everything you've done for us and for me and for the world.” – Chris Hawkey, musician, radio personality, Bell Bank Champion and friend of recipient."


Bell Employee
Misty Scholler, VP/Private Banking Lead
Bloomington, Minn. – Bell Plaza

Sarah Jane

The Need

While on a jet ski tour in Florida, Sarah Jane was in a serious accident that nearly left her paralyzed. It was so bad, doctors later said most people would have passed out on the jet ski – but Sarah Jane rode it 2 miles back to shore, climbed up a ladder and walked across the dock before resting on a table.

That’s when her friend and business partner, Chris Hawkey, saw her and knew something was wrong.

“Talk about a life-changing moment – from the best day of your life to your best friend in dire circumstances,” comments Chris, a musician, radio personality and Bell Bank Champion.

After arriving at a small Key West hospital, Chris and Sarah Jane found out she had a broken back, and doctors wanted to fly her to Miami. Not knowing if Sarah Jane was going to walk again, Chris accompanied her to the helicopter and watched as it flew away.

“There was just so much going on and so much unknown,” Sarah Jane remarks. “They try to keep you comfortable, but internally you’re scared to death.”

Because her fracture went out instead of in, Sarah Jane is able to walk, but she had to go through surgery and spend 17 days in the hospital.

The Impact

After finding out what happened, Misty Scholler, a private banking lead at Bell and another of Sarah Jane’s friends, decided to use her Pay It Forward funds to help. She recruited her co-workers to join in her effort, and they pooled their donation to make an even bigger impact.

“It filled my heart,” Sarah Jane says. “When a month earlier I felt like I was in my loneliest place. The amount of gratitude that I feel for how I am today and everything that Bell has done for me has been amazing.”

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