CHARLESTON, W.Va. (1/14/14)--Credit unions are known for helping their communities in their time of need, but they also take care of their "credit union families."
"From an employee standpoint, what you do have is everybody working together," said Nick Arvon, president/CEO of West Virginia FCU. The $164 million-asset credit union is within the nine-county area that was declared a federal disaster area Friday because of a chemical spill into the Elk River. Monday, the ban was slowly being lifted on using water for anything other than flushing toilets.
Employees live anywhere from three to 30 miles from work, he said. Those who live farther away from the Charleston metropolitan area invited co-workers to meals and offered a place to bathe.
"It's the cooperative spirit we all share," Arvon told News Now. "Everybody is checking up on everybody to make sure there aren't any other needs."
Arvon said skip-a-pay fees could be waived for members who need them this month. Small businesses such as restaurants had to close Thursday evening, missing a weekend's worth of customers. Hospitals and government buildings also were closed as up to 300,000 residents were without tap water.
"It really makes you appreciate some of the things you take for granted, like laundry, showers and baths," he said.
As far as disaster recovery lessons to be learned, Arvon said he recognized the importance of leadership in time of crisis: "Focus on the task at hand, show you have plans and keep people informed."