Wheelersburg, Ohio,
13:12 PM

Inspiring Change

Teacher-turned-country artist connects with students.

Shane RunionAs a teacher, Shane Runion once confronted a student after class about why her eyes were glassy. She admitted she had tried methamphetamine for the first time earlier that day.

That was a real-life look for Shane into the drug problem facing America, in particular youths.

Now a country music recording artist and live performer, Shane has connected with thousands of high school students through his music behind the support of State Farm® agents in Ohio and West Virginia.

Shane performed a couple dozen live shows at 30 high schools earlier this year. There is no charge to the students or school. Shane and his band set up in the gym or auditorium and play to hundreds of students. He always plays his song “Tattoos” and shares a message about staying clean.

“I had such an incredible experience after the first one,” Shane says. “I never would have thought my favorite show of the year would be playing to a couple thousand sober high school kids.”

Shane’s tour was part of the Drug Free Clubs of America, a voluntary program established in 2005, in which high school students with parental permission submit to voluntary drug testing.

State Farm agents donated resources to keep Shane, his band and operation going from town to town.

Leigh Greene, Wheelersburg, Ohio, was one who supported the tour. Leigh and Shane first met when he became a customer.

“We talked about his risk of being on the road, and he also shared his idea for the concert series at high schools,” says Leigh. “He asked about a sponsorship and said he was going to take his idea to other agents.

“I wanted to get involved because our family had a State Farm agent when I was growing up who had a great impact on my family. He meant a lot to many people because he was so grassroots. I am trying to create an office just like he did.”

Other participating agents were Dave Strickland, Chillicothe, Ohio; Dan McPherson, Parkersburg, W.Va.; Lorri Grisell, Wheeling, W.Va.; Zach Bradley, Canal Winchester, Ohio; Matt Coyne, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

“The agents gave me the confidence that we could do this and it would make a difference,” says Shane.