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Thirty-Six Low-income Elementary School Students Receive School Supplies at GECU’s Juntos Avanzamos Flag Raising Event
Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:25 AM


Sageland Elementary School students were all smiles as they each picked up two bags full of back-to-school supplies yesterday at GECU. Sageland Elementary is the adopted school of the El Paso-based credit union, and 99 percent of its students are Hispanic and of those, 85 percent are social-economically disadvantaged. The students were on hand yesterday to witness GECU receiving the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Juntos Avanzamos, or Together We Advance, designation.

GECU president and CEO Crystal Long says earning the designation is so important to the credit union because it lets the community know that they are committed to meeting their needs, and the credit union has certainly met the needs of lifetime member Erich Morales.

“I learned how important a credit union relationship is from my father,” Morales told yesterday’s crowd gathered to see the raising of the Together We Advance Flag.

Morales said he opened his first account at GECU when he was at the age of some of the Sageland

Elementary School students.

“I earned $5 for each lawn I mowed, and I would keep $2.50 and deposit the other $2.50 in my GECU savings account,” he told the audience.

As he got older, he started saving more, as well as borrowing more.  Morales says he is the first in his family to go to college, and he thanks the credit union for helping him achieve that dream.

“I was able to go to college partly because of my savings and partly because of the student loans I was able to receive from the credit union,” he said. “Had it not been for the credit union, I may not have been able to go to college, and if I hadn’t been able to go to college, I would not have been able to go to law school.”

The credit union, he says, has been with him every step of the way. In addition to financing his college, Morales says the credit union has financed cars and houses. He was also the recipient of one of the credit union’s first business loans.

The well attended

event was covered by Univision and KFox 14 News, as well as  El Diario, the local Spanish newspaper. In addition to providing 36 Sageland Elementary School students with school supplies, the credit union also distributed thousands of school supplies at several of its branches throughout the city. Free back-to-school immunizations were also offered, although not too many of the students were eager to take advantage of that service.

GECU is one of 25 credit unions to fly the Together We Advance flag. The League will hold a Juntos Avanzamos flag raising event Sept. 5 at Randolph-Brooks FCU in San Antonio and Oct. 24 at Southwest 66 CU in Midland.

To learn more about the program, please visit the Hispanic outreach section on the League’s website.