Ed Hand: A Name Worth Knowing
After a serious motor accident that left him deaf in one ear, Ed Hand decided to do what he does best: help people.
Ed Hand has always led a life filled with love. Born in St.John’s, N.L., he was the youngest of 10. Though he lost his father at the age of two, and lived with financial hardship, he makes a point of saying he grew up surrounded by people who cared.
As a kid, he says he was different. Not because of the way he hated school (only making it to Grade 7), but because he always managed to have a dollar in his pocket. Whether he was selling worms for people to go fishing, shovelling snow in the winter or offering up tickets to see hockey games, Ed had a way of making ends meet.
When you revisit his experience over the years, you start to realize this could be where his entrepreneurial spirit began. On leaving home, he flew from success to success, namely in the shoe business.
Not long after landing a job on the sales floor of Fredelle, a division of Kinney Shoes, he was boosting sales week after week and was promoted to store manager. After that, he was offered a job as supervisor, travelling across Canada to different store locations. Following that, he was approached by the ALDO Group, who made him assistant sales director of Canada.
For Ed, life was good. He had an impressive resumé and the satisfied customers to back him up. He wasn’t just propelling sales through the roof, but was also living comfortably. Then, everything changed.
“I had a very bad car accident. I was going to get my kid a bicycle. On the way back, I was going through a green light, and the other gentleman ran a red light,” he shares. “I remember hitting the car. I was in a state of shock. I got out and collapsed. They took me to hospital by ambulance, and I remember having this ringing in my ears.”
When he returned home, he thought he’d suffered only soft-tissue injuries and knee trauma but, 10 months later, he was sick and rushed back into hospital. After a number of tests, it was determined he’d lost his hearing in one ear.
From there, Ed was faced with financial instability, mental and physical stress from the hearing complications and challenges he wasn’t expecting. Because there was a 10-month delay between the accident and Ed losing his hearing, the process to settle the case was also complex.
He was connected with personal injury lawyer Daniel J. Balena, who managed to turn the case around. Though he says that “there’s no price tag on hearing loss,” it was a result worth fighting for. When Ed started telling his story, and people began to find their way to Balena for his expertise, Balena did the unexpected and asked if Ed wanted to start working with him, with no licence or legal experience.
All of this led to the founding of where Ed works now. “My last name is Hand, I make a difference in people’s lives and I’m available 24-7,” he says. “So I said, ‘I’m going to call my company Helping Hand.’”
Today, Helping Hand is an organization founded in association with Balena’s law firm that provides immediate support and assistance to victims of injury or accident. Covering everything from motor accidents to spinal injuries and longterm disability claims, they help families overcome the hurdles that appear between an accident and a settlement. “I love to make a difference for people,” Ed continues. “I made my success because I’ve been honest, genuine. And any commitment I’ve ever made to anybody, I’ve fulfilled.”
“I Made My Success Because I’ve Been Honest, Genuine. And Any Commitment I’ve Ever Made To Anybody, I’ve Fulfilled” — Ed Hand
He also works with his two sons, Peter Hand and Adam Hand, making it a true family enterprise. Adam, who always dreamed of working alongside his father, says, “when I was younger I loved the way he was able to help people and how he knew just what they needed because he’s been through it himself.” Peter says, “I started working with my father, as I enjoy helping clients and families get through the hard times of an accident and truly making a difference in their lives.” His son Ryan, not involved in the business, says, “The best advice I ever received from my father is to do whatever makes you happy and live in the moment.”
It’s not until you speak to the ever-expanding network of people who orbit Ed that you realize the impact he’s had on the lives of others. “I have seen Ed make a dramatic difference in those who have been severely injured,” says Cliff Hendler, who works with Ed professionally. “When people hire him, they become family for life. No matter if a case was settled years ago, he’ll go to great lengths to keep in touch and see how everyone is.”
Jonathan Juna, a client who had a serious car accident back in 2015, says Ed changed his life from the moment they met. “I thought I was going to be stuck for years until I received my settlement, but Ed didn’t let that happen. Ed and his sons Adam and Peter always go the extra mile to make sure I’m OK.” Balena, who helped Ed through his accident before hiring him to help with future clients, gives glowing reviews, sharing how Ed has an “enthusiasm for the work and a level of focus and commitment to the development of personal injury files that are rarely seen.”
Sandy McEwan, who has been working with Ed after her daughter had an accident 12 years ago, agrees. ‘Trust’ is a very strong word, but more important is a feeling of cemented belief that the person’s intentions are always for the greater good. That you can’t be let down. Ed is the epitome of trust. If he says he will do it, consider it done. His actions are what give me the fullest trust of anyone I know. He’s never disappointed me and he’s gone above and beyond.”
Interview by Estelle Zentil