Stephen Mayhle always wanted to become a police officer. When he was offered a job with the Pittsburgh Bureau of police, Stephen jumped at the chance. But moving with his wife, Shandra, and their two daughters from their home in Indiana, Pa., meant belt tightening. The cost of living was higher and Stephen was earning less. One way to cut expenses, the couple thought, was to terminate a $50,000 universal life insurance policy that Stephen bought shortly after he and Shandra married. After all, they reasoned, Stephen’s group life insurance benefit through the City of Pittsburgh more than doubled his existing coverage. However, their insurance agent Chad Gregorini explained that with a young family to provide for, Stephen needed more coverage, not less. For the same price, Stephen could buy a $250,000 20-year term policy. Stephen took his agent’s advice. Eventually money wasn’t as tight. The couple was even able to purchase a home. Then the unthinkable happened.
In the early hours of an April morning in 2009, several officers, including Stephen, responded to a domestic disturbance between a mother and son. When they arrived, the son opened fire. Stephen, 29, and two other officers were killed. The killings left a young widow wondering how she would manage. As friends and family gathered at the Mayhle home, Chad stopped by, too. Shandra felt a huge sense of relief when Chad said, “Mrs. Mayhle, you’re going to be OK.” The insurance money helped Shandra put financial worries aside. She paid off a car loan, started college funds for the girls, created a retirement fund for herself and continued paying her mortgage. Most importantly, Shandra can spend time with her daughters, now 7 and 5. “They need me right now,” she says. “They don’t need a babysitter.”