Dave Hale knows what it’s like to be told no.

“I didn’t play high school football. I got cut off the team my senior year of high school,” Hale, of Hale Agency in Ottawa, said. At 6’6” and 205 pounds, Dave was considered too thin to play.

But Hale has never been one to let the word “no” stop him. “I came here in ‘65 as a freshman at Ottawa University. And the reason I came down here was to play football,” he said.

Hale played football for four years at the university, as well as basketball and track. And the end of college wasn’t the end of his athletic career. Hale was drafted to the Chicago Bears in the 12th round of the 1969 draft and played for five years, he said.

“That’s not bad for being cut from your high school team,” he said, laughing. “I like telling that story to kids, and even adults, because none of us have any idea what five years down the road holds for us. Our abilities can change, our interests and motivations can change. That’s what makes life exciting.”

Hale fell in love with sales while playing for the Bears, working odd jobs around the Chicago area to help support his growing family.

“I sold Cadillacs one off season for Hanley-Dobson Cadillac, the biggest Cadillac dealer in the world at the time,” he said.

After Hale was cut from the Bears in 1974, he went into sales full time, eventually finding his way into the world of insurance in 1981. A friend had offered to take him on as a business partner, an offer which he initially refused, he said. “We argued back and forth, and then he said ‘This might be your ticket out of Chicago’ and that clicked. At the time we had four kids, were thinking about having a fifth, so I put the hammer down,” he recounted.

Hale and his family moved to McPherson, starting his insurance agency from scratch and operating for 25 years in the area. Six years ago, his wife accepted a position at Ottawa University, prompting a move to Franklin County.

Hale has enjoyed the area ever since, he said.

“I like the fact that there are two colleges in Ottawa. [The area has] a pretty diverse industrial base,” he said, and then smiled. “The attitude is really good here, really upbeat.”