Updated: May 20, 2020
March 2020 Issue - Written by Blaine Elizabeth Alexander
The Hudson family moved to the Woodburn Road area almost four years ago, mostly to be closer to Spartanburg Day School (SDS) for daughter Haley and son Harrison. Kevin and Misti love doing life together and at their very core, share the fact that their family and children are paramount to them. While just beginning to enjoy the fruits of their hard work ethic, an accident changed their lives forever.
Their story begins when they met working at Applebees in Spartanburg. “I see this new girl walk in and I get nervous,” Kevin says about Misti. “I knew right then I’d better not mess this up. We were both going to different colleges and dating someone else. But, there was this spunk about her. The friendship grew and I finally asked her if I could kiss her. She said ‘Okay, but you better do it right!’ Well I must have, we became inseparable. She always saw something in me I didn't see in myself. Even back then, she knew how to encourage and push me. She’s the most Christlike person I’ve ever met and an unquestionably good person. So I was like, I need this in my life.”
Misti and Kevin grew up similarly in that their families moved a lot. Constantly changing schools, they both learned to adapt. “We’re both hard workers.” Kevin says, “I’m a problem solver and I’ll do what it takes to fix it. She’s the glue.”
Kevin struggled to focus in school, but he had an entrepreneurial mind. While other kids played video games, Kevin had a business with a one mile loop and weekends. On his bicycle, hauling a wagon of supplies, he would go around neighborhoods washing cars and cutting grass. In 10th grade, he created a business cleaning construction sites. He says, “I would hire friends to help and get all kinds of work because we’d do it way cheaper. We had a blast.” In college, Kevin had a car washing business and Misti pitched in. “I enjoyed doing it. It helped me think.” he says.
While growing up, Kevin observed his step-dad working in the insurance business. “His work ethic and the way he raised me was very strict and I respected him for that. He became my best friend.” Eventually pursuing insurance himself, Kevin says “I’m trying to support my family and I just can’t seem to get any traction. By thirty years old, my brain woke up.” Misti chimes in, “I diagnosed him with ADD and we fixed that.” Kevin laughs, “It’s true. Things started to make sense to me. It all became clear and from then on I was like Katie bar the door!”
Being a natural problem solver and now with a keen mind, Kevin was presented with an opportunity in the insurance industry that no one had found a solution for. He says, “I knew that this was my shot.” Kevin launched a new business and the family pulled together to support him.
Misti says, “It was from sunup to sundown but we were all in. His mom, step-dad and brother would drive up from Dublin, Georgia on Sunday and stay with us in our three bedroom home in Boiling Springs. We’d all get up Monday, drop Haley off, drive to Greenville and work late. Kevin’s mom would have the kids in bed and supper on the table by the time we got home. By Friday, they would drive back home and repeat again on Sunday. They did that for about two years, sold their chain of restaurants and moved up here.” She adds, “Even my PTA friends would come to the office and help. Several stayed on and have worked with us for close to ten years now.”
Kevin says, “We needed a bigger house and we found a wonderful home in Woodfin Ridge for eight years. My company, HSA Group Benefits, was growing tremendously so I partnered with a call center just outside of Charlotte and was driving a lot, getting home much later. There’d be times Misti would keep the kids up just so I could see them before bed.” He adds, “I know what paying the price to chase it means.” There came a time when the Hudson’s had to make a decision to possibly relocate the family to Charlotte.
SDS was ultimately the determining factor for moving the business to Spartanburg. Misti says, “Ever since we met we wanted to move out of Spartanburg. Now we don't want to leave! SDS introduced us to a whole new group of friends who think the same way we do about investing in our kids. Harrison, a sophomore, is doing really well. He is exceptionally smart. And Haley,” Kevin chimes in, “She is something else. She is a talented artist and knows what she wants.” Misti finishes with, “She has always wanted to go to design school in New York. So she completed a mentorship with Louise Johnson last year through SDS and recently got accepted to Parsons School of Design in New York!”
A little over a year ago, an accident occurred. “That day, my children stopped being teenagers.” Kevin continues, “My kids were heroes that day. Half a mile down the beach, we were packing up to go and I was wrapping a bungee cord over a cart when it broke free, hitting me in the eye. The damage was irreparable. It was horrific for my kids to see their father’s eye explode. But they remained calm and jumped into action. It changed our relationships forever.”
Misti says, “We found an ocularist out of Beverly Hills to create his prosthetic eye and it looks very natural.” Kevin adds, “I got lucky. This experience changed the way I look at things and the people in my life. This was very humbling for me and honestly, it’s what needed to happen. I was guilty of not paying attention to what’s important and running so fast my soul couldn't catch up. My mind was somewhere else and it used to affect every other area of my life. Now, I live more in the moment and I don't forget things.”
Misti continues to support her husband in his endeavors and remains very active at SDS by volunteering. In the past, she was President of the Parents’ Community and has chaired a few of the school’s fundraisers. She is currently on the Board for the Spartanburg Art Museum as Secretary and serves for The Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties. She is still the glue.
HSA Group Benefits is now in all 50 states and has been so successful designing insurance group benefits for the independent financial service industry that they’ve added another division focusing on independent Realtors (1099). Kevin says, “No one is doing what we are doing across the country. God has truly blessed us.”
To this day, Kevin mentors SDS kids with ADD and is dedicated to helping them. “Life is so much better now.” He adds, “Although this was emotional for me after losing my eye, I stood before my team at the office and said, I may have lost my sight, but I have regained my vision.”