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CUs and Members Embody 'People Helping People' Philosophy in Adversity
Thursday, September 7, 2017 7:00 AM

The storm damage from Hurricane Harvey was so significant, experts say that recovery is bound to be slow—perhaps months or years, in some cases. But our efforts at Cornerstone will continue for as long as needed. In the meantime, the outpouring of love and support comes from all over the country, including from credit union members.

In Henryetta, Okla., First Family Federal Credit Union CEO David Dykes reports that his staff gave their members an opportunity to practice the people helping people philosophy. They placed glass coffee pots at teller stations, which asked members to forfeit their coffee money for the day to assist with Foundation relief efforts for south Texas. One of their members left $500!

"Wow! We never dreamed of receiving a $500 donation from one individual," Dykes said. "Our member inspired our staff. Once word spread through my team, a bake sale was organized at one branch, which also raised almost $500 in two hours."

"Credit union members want to help," Dykes added. "We must give them an avenue to help."

Paul Withey, CEO of Our Mother of Mercy FCU in Houston, said most everyone seemed to be getting back to normal, though some smaller credit unions were facing challenges due to a lack of resources. For some, especially in hard-hit eastern portions of Houston and in Beaumont, the challenges included power outages, being offline, and limited staff. But things are very much looking up, and despite the challenges, he says, credit unions are doing their best to serve their members.

"Unfortunately, when you live in the Gulf area, you have to expect some weather disruptions, so you need some measures of preparation in place," Withey said. "But this storm snuck up on us so fast, and the full depth of its power had been an unknown—who would ever have expected 50 inches of rain?"

"Lorri Gaither and Kati Buchanan have been fantastic, reaching out so quickly and keeping everybody updated," Withey said. "The support and outreach was so well coordinated, I have to give hats off to everyone at Cornerstone and all the credit unions who rolled up their sleeves and just did what was needed."