MADISON, Wis. (11/7/14)--As Veterans Day approaches on Tuesday, credit unions are paying tribute to their national heroes in a variety of ways.
InTouch CU, Plano, Texas, with $817 million in assets, is offering a special promotion for its partnership with the nonprofit organization Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS), which purchases prepaid international calling cards for troops stationed overseas so they can connect with family and friends back home.
Through Dec. 19, InTouch will match all donations made to CPFS, up to $2,500, and will give $1 for every phone donated at a branch of the credit union.
Both cell phones and monetary donations can be dropped off at any of the credit union's branches.
"We were so pleased to work with a worthy organization like Cell Phones for Soldiers this past spring (for Memorial Day) that in the seasonal spirit of giving, we decided to work with them again for the holidays," said Diane Gerstner, InTouch executive vice president.
"At this time of year especially, we must remember those who risk their lives every day, without their families, so that we can have the freedom to be safe at home with our own loved ones," Gerstner added.
CPFS has sent more than 210 million minutes of free phone time to servicemembers in the last decade. Each dollar donated to CPFS generates about 30 minutes of talk time, according to InTouch.
In the spring, InTouch and its members donated a total of $4,000, in addition to several hundred cell phones, to CPFS.
TruWest CU, Tempe, Ariz., with $853 million, is also raising funds for veterans in honor of Veterans Day.
Throughout November, which is National Military Family Appreciation Month, TruWest will collect donations with all proceeds going to the Fisher House Foundation, a network of homes where family members can stay while loved ones, such as military members, receive medical treatment away from home.
Since 1990, the Fisher House Foundation has assisted military and veterans' families with lodging and transportation costs, according to BroadwayWorld.com, providing families a "home away from home" near major military and VA medical centers.
Donations can be made on Fisher House's website or at any TruWest branch.
Meanwhile, Hopewell FCU, Heath, Ohio, with $77 million in assets, has taken the opportunity of the forthcoming holiday to outline the many ways veterans nationwide can be helped, and not just in the realm of financial services.
"Veterans returning to the United States from their tours of duty face a fresh challenge at home: making the switch from soldier to civilian," the credit union wrote in a recent blog post on its website. "To make veterans' transitions easier, the federal and state governments offer a long list of benefits that address health, career, financial and other needs."
The post goes on to detail challenges veterans returning home face--such as applying for veterans' benefits--and how nonprofit veterans' organizations can help them meet those challenges.
The credit union also lists resources veterans can access to help them transition to life back home.
Finally, Hanscom FCU, located on Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, with $1 billion in assets, recently announced a $100,000 donation to the Run to Home Base organization (News Now Oct. 22).
The organization, which was introduced by the Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program in 2009, helps Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families heal the invisible wounds of war, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, through clinical care, education and research.
"Run to Home Base is doing crucial work to address a problem that too many of us at Hanscom are too familiar with, and getting involved was an easy decision," said Alan Hart, chair of the Hanscom FCU Charitable Foundation.