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“When I was a very young child, my mother didn’t always have much money,” remembers Mario San Marco, Western & Southern’s Senior Vice President of Economic Development. “But no matter how little she had, she would always give me change to put in The Salvation Army’s little red kettle at Christmastime. As a result of my mother’s generosity, I learned at an early age about the importance of giving to those less fortunate.”

Not only did he learn life-shaping lessons from giving away those coins, San Marco also became familiar with and gained respect for The Salvation Army, and that stuck with him. As a result, San Marco has been on The Salvation Army’s advisory board for over three decades.

“I truly appreciate The Salvation Army’s mission,” says San Marco. “They are always helping people who are in need by addressing the person’s mind, body and soul. In addition to meeting their material needs, they help the whole person.”

On Nov. 6, 2019, San Marco was awarded Lifetime Membership status from The Salvation Army. Throughout his many years of volunteering with The Salvation Army, San Marco has spent time as vice chairman, chairman, and he served on and chaired several committees. One of his roles was working with the project team on the expansion of the Catherine Booth Residence, which houses low-income senior citizens.

“I am most proud of connecting The Salvation Army with the revitalization of Over-the-Rhine,” says San Marco. “As a partner with those who have been developing OTR for so many years, I am honored and proud to serve on boards and committees with so many capable and committed community leaders who strive to better the lives of the less fortunate.”

Even though his mother taught him the responsibility of serving

others at a young age, San Marco is grateful to work at a company

whose culture encourages its team members to give back to

the community.

“Volunteerism is truly ingrained into the Western & Southern culture,” says San Marco. “As a company, we encourage our associates to become involved in the community and find causes that are of interest to them. It’s so important to our company that Western & Southern recognizes multiple associates for their volunteer work each year and will honor one of them with our Humanitarian Award.”

Working alongside his volunteering co-workers at Western & Southern and with the dedicated staff and team at The Salvation Army, San Marco has been able to meet and learn from a number of people from all different walks of life.

“I’ve watched The Salvation Army officers and staff members attract volunteers through their actions, not just their words or by asking for contributions. I encourage people to get involved with organizations whose visions and values you share and whose mission you want to support. The more time you invest, the more satisfaction you will receive from it,” San Marco says, smiling. “And, maybe most importantly, I’ve learned that, deep down, everyone wants to help others.”

Western & Southern Financial Group is located at 400 Broadway St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 866.832.7719 or visit