Howard Insurance Broker, Nicole Koehler, is helping to reestablish the previously defunct St. Vincent de Paul conference at St. John the Baptist – Howard and is taking the reigns as conference president. The conference had been out of operation since December 2017.
At 34, Koehler is the youngest conference president among all 20 active conferences in St. Vincent de Paul Green Bay. Conferences range as far west as Trinity of the Tigerton area, and as far north as Stella Maris of Door County.
Koehler is a busy mom and business owner but said she has been feeling called to action for some time now.
“For years I have felt like I wanted to get more involved in the church in some way, but there was always something that prevented me from having the time to do so, kids, work, household management, etc.,” Koehler said. “I felt that I was being called to quit my job and start my own business so I could use the talents God gave me for the greater good and have the freedom to finally get involved.”
In January, when things slowed down in her line of work, she said she was looking for a way to give back – that’s when the deacon at St. John the Baptist brought up St. Vincent de Paul Green Bay.
“When I heard Deacon Nick announce after Mass that there would be a St. Vincent de Paul meeting coming up regarding starting up a conference, something told me I needed to go,” Koehler said.
Prior to this Koehler said she only knew St. Vincent de Paul Green Bay as a thrift store. That meeting, led by Vincentians Mike Charles and Ed Machacek, left Koehler feeling inspired.
“I felt like being a Vincentian may very well be what I felt the Lord calling me to for the last several years,” Koehler said.
So, what is a Vincentian exactly? Koehler said as a Medicare Insurance Broker she feels right at home doing the work.
“As a Medicare Insurance Broker, I meet with people listen to what their needs are and use my knowledge to help get them get the assistance they need,” Koehler said.
She said for many of her clients in the Howard-Suamico area the tasks are simple, but for some she helps them with so much more.
“I have spent time helping people apply for government programs such as Extra Help Paying for Prescriptions, Medicaid, and Senior Care,” Koehler said. “I feel like this process is so parallel to what a Vincentian does at the home visits. We pray for guidance, listen to our Friend in Need’s story, and then use our knowledge and resources to try and get them access to the help they need.”
Through Koehler’s dedication – the busy mom brought her four-year-old son to a recent meeting because she didn’t want a family conflict to prevent her from being involved – 41 people have expressed interest in the budding conference.
“Some want to become Vincentians so they can help our Friends in Need directly and others want to help through fund raising, donating, or helping with administrative activities,” Koehler said. “We need and are happy to have them all.”
Anyone interested in joining the efforts of the St. John the Baptist – Howard Conference can contact Nicole Koehler at (920) 664-3977.