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Gary Janacek and Scott & White Employees CU Put Community First
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 7:00 AM

Gary Janacek, president and CEO of Scott & White Employees Credit Union (SWECU) in Temple, is deeply involved in his community, through his personal work with the St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple and through his credit union’s support of military personnel at Ft. Hood.

St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple, Inc. is a benevolent nonprofit dedicated to the financial assistance of anyone in need in the Temple community. Now in its 50th year of service, it meets a wide range of needs. 

For instance, proceeds from a thrift store are used to stock a food pantry and provide emergency financial aid to someone in a crisis situation, whether from a natural disaster, personal tragedy, or loss of income. A partnership with Feed My Sheep provides hot meals for around 250 people each day, and the organization works with retailers such as HEB and Wal-Mart to get weekly distributions for the food pantry, which serves 4,000 people quarterly. Grants from United Way and area churches also provide funding to achieve the organization's goals.

"Central Texas is growing rapidly, and families are moving here from all over the country," said Janacek. "The promise of a job may not come through before their money runs out. As our community grows, the need for assistance grows."

Currently, the food pantry uses the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin as a resource, but it is working with other food pantries and the Temple Chamber of Commerce to develop their own food bank to make the system more streamlined and efficient.

Janacek served on the board for the St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Temple for eight years—six of those as board chair—and remains on its executive committee. He says seeing his efforts provide a real hand-up to those in need is "very rewarding."

The largest active-duty armored post in the United States Armed Services, Fort Hood, is a half-hour drive west of Temple. The base is nicknamed "The Great Place" because of the quality of life the post and area offer soldiers and their families. The staff of SWECU help make it that way.

There is a long history of partnership between the Ft. Hood area communities and the military. The large turnover of troops means families are always in need of a sense of community. SWECU supports several groups at Fort Hood.

They also support the 1st Medical Brigade, which provides healthcare to soldiers deployed around the world. SWECU adopted the 43rd Medical Detachment (veterinary services), a tactical unit of the 1st Medical Brigade. Wherever deployed, the unit inspects the food and water entering the country for the American military forces, and provides healthcare for military animals utilized in search-and-rescue missions.

SWECU employees send care packages to soldiers in the adopted unit when they are deployed. They also raise money from bake sales at the credit union for gifts to the soldiers’ children at Christmas and attend functions to send troops off, welcome them home again, and celebrate their successful deployments.

In recent years, some tragic events have occurred at Fort Hood. “Anything can happen at any time," said Janacek. "We let them know they are important and that their families will be taken care of."

Janacek and credit union employees are living examples of the cooperative principle of people helping people through their dedication to and care for their community.

For more information, please contact Texas Credit Union Association Legislative and Regulatory Director Charlotte Spencer at 512-853-8511 or cspencer@txcua.coop.