FREMONT, Mich. (11/1/13)--Volunteers from Gerber FCU stepped up to assist a member whose only source of income is his Social Security disability check. And--as is often the case with credit unions--staff went above and beyond normal service expectations to help.
Volunteers from Fremont, Mich.-based Gerber FCU helped dismantle an old deck and build a new entry deck for the home of a member in need. The credit union helped him get into a program that enabled Gerber to modify his mortgage to help meet living expenses. (Photo provided by the Michigan Credit Union League)
The member, Robert Cooley, worked with one of the Fremont, Mich.-based credit union's certified credit union financial counselors, Char Morris, to obtain a grant from the Step Forward Michigan program administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), according to the Michigan Credit Union League (Michigan Monitor Oct. 28).
Morris assisted Cooley with the application process and was his main liaison with MSHDA. When she began working with him, his mortgage payment consumed all but $30 of his benefit check.
He does not have a phone in his home or reliable transportation, said the league, so Morris made numerous trips to Cooley's home to deliver documents, gather information and obtain signatures during the application process. Her concern about the safety of the home's entrance grew with each visit, and she spent hours trying to find an agency with funding for a project to help.
Holton United Methodist Church and the United Way of the Lakeshore each promised funding. Morris' search for volunteers led to Chuck Whitman, a member of the Fremont Rotary Club, who builds ramps as a volunteer. Other volunteers from the credit union also steeped up.
Cooley was approved for a $30,000 grant, which allowed Gerber FCU to modify his mortgage and bring his payment down to less than 45% of his income.
The group of volunteers rebuilt his main entry deck and repaired a second set of steps to create a temporary safe egress in and out of the home during the construction project.
One group of volunteers, including Gerber President/CEO John Buckley, demolished the deck in an hour. A second set of volunteers constructed the new deck two days later.
"We were able to assist a member in need, and our volunteers feel honored to be part of the project that truly improved the well-being of our member," Buckley said.
"It is hard to find the words to say how grateful I am to the agencies who put up the money and how surprised I am that so many people cared enough to come together to help," Cooley said. "Thank you so much Gerber FCU, Holton United Methodist Church, United Way of the Lakeshore and Fremont Rotary."
Fostering service excellence is one of the tenets of the Credit Union National Association's and state leagues' Unite for Good campaign. In that campaign, credit unions increase awareness of their value to the community and their members, foster service excellence, and remove barriers to their strategic vision of Americans choosing credit unions as their best financial partner. For more, use the link.