I was honored to take part in the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards celebration last month.
The awards, presented by the National Credit Union Foundation during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), highlight the proud record giants in our system have established in fostering a strong credit union movement. These award winners continue to help members learn how to manage their money and build lasting financial security for themselves and their families.
The honorees I met included:
Clarence Hall Jr., CEO, Issaquena County (Miss.) Federal Credit Union. He has selflessly worked on behalf of struggling people in one of the poorest counties in the nation, embodying credit union values throughout his life. The World War II veteran founded Issaquena Federal in 1969 and, at 90 years young, still leads this vital community institution. His work unquestionably has built a better life for countless families in rural Mississippi. People who know him proudly say he is an unsung hero who has led efforts around financial literacy and civil rights to make a positive impact on those in his community.
Mike Mercer, president/CEO, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates. He was recognized for his groundbreaking leadership, innovative contributions, personal commitment, and unfaltering dedication to the advancement of the credit union system. His colleagues call him an innovator and status quo challenger who has always pushed leaders to rethink old habits and consider new approaches. In addition, Mike always has displayed tremendous insight and innovation—from his role at the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, to his time as CUNA chairman, and his work with the Polish credit union system.
Bob Schumacher, retired president/ CEO, MountainCrest Credit Union, Arlington, Wash. He has touched every corner of the credit union movement and inspired many people through credit union leadership programs in the U.S. and overseas. Bob’s friends and colleagues call him a dedicated and devoted adherent to the credit union philosophy. His impact— particularly on programs such as the Community Investment Fund, Biz Kid$, and the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program—is unmatched. Anyone who has been touched by Bob’s contagious energy and enthusiasm comes away a more committed individual.
Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL). The Foundation recognized the league for its efforts to ensure the prosperity of credit unions and improve consumers’ financial lives. Its breadth and depth shine through its focus on reaching the Hispanic population and developing savings initiatives and a host of other programs.
Each honoree’s achievements provide inspiration, advancing the best interests of our movement. ICUL represents the best of organizational achievement in service to others.
In this issue of Credit Union Magazine, you’ll see the innovative work credit unions are doing to help members learn fundamental principles about managing their money and building financial security.
It’s a natural fit, as credit unions were born to help their members’ financial well-being and the communities they serve. Financial education, a natural extension of the credit union philosophy, is embedded in the fifth cooperative principle: education, training, and information.
Attending last month’s GAC fueled my excitement about our future. I’m inspired, not only by this year’s Wegner Award winners, but also by the countless stories I heard from so many of you about your commitment to our great credit union system.