WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- Since 1985, Jim Nick has been a part of American Family Insurance.
"When I started with American Family, I didn't have a plan B," Nick said.
It was a grind climbing that mountain. Eventually building his own empire with offices in Rib Mountain, Marathon and Athens into one of the top-5 agencies in the country for AFI.
"Have a high level integrity. Sincerity. Always tell the truth, always do your best. Hire your staff, train them that way and that's what we've done."
His success has enabled him to help others. Jim is big in the charitable community, helping or leading causes like Blessings in a Backpack, Help the Kids and Pink Ribbon just to name a few.
"I always said at some point in my life I wanted to give back more to the community."
The Wausau East grad has built up his own network of friends and businesses called 'Friends of Wausau.' Jim and company have certainly been a friend to the area's school districts, with clothing, food, paid lunch balances, bus passes and more.
"We just started talking about students in need and the homeless students at East High School, at West High School," Wausau East principal Brad Peck recalled. "And he was like 'wait a minute."
"It is not OK with him that we have kids in our community that are going without the proper clothing and without food," said Jeb Steckbauer, Wausau West principal.
The last two years alone, Jim has been able to help more than 750 kids and raise more than $200,000. That giving foundation was built during his childhood.
"A lot of the things I've learned comes from my mom," Nick said. "Her giving and caring part about people, my mom's like a saint."
He has two kids...Macey and Bella, both Bischon Schitzu mix.
"20 pounds of thunder. They run the whole house," he said with a smile.
'Teddy bear' puppies. And an owner with a big, plush heart.
"Good man. Certainly cares about the people in our community," said Steckbauer.
"He's been a true difference-maker in the lives of many students and their families," Peck said.
"I just believe that we make society better, we make the community better," said Nick. "We bring out the best in people and give these kids a chance."
A chance, as when he bet on himself 35 years ago starting his company from scratch.