(Photo by Ryan Kern/2015 WCUC)
When it comes to providing financial counseling to Jacksonville, Fla., residents, Gail Lewis doesn’t consider herself a hero.
She’s just doing her job, she says, like the thousands of people who packed the Bellco Theater at the combined America’s Credit Union Conference/World Council of Credit Unions Conference Monday.
But without question, she’s a hero.
Lewis received Credit Union Magazine's Credit Union Hero of the Year award Monday. She's director of consumer lending/credit manager at $440 million asset 121 Financial Credit Union in Jacksonville.
“I’m receiving an award for being a hero amongst a bunch of heroes,” Lewis said.
Lewis thanked her credit union's board for recognizing her dream to help young people with financial literacy and for supporting her efforts to go into the community. She works tirelessly to improve their understanding not just of their personal finances, but also the credit union’s products and services.
“I always knew credit unions had a purpose and I had a purpose,” Lewis said. “You don’t go out waiting for the moment, but you know the moment will come.”
She also serves as an adjunct instructor at Florida State College of Jacksonville, teaches financial counseling for the Credit Union Education Program, and participates on the education committee for the Northeast Florida Chapter of Credit Unions.
She volunteers at the Job Corps each month and is happy to hold workshops for any group that asks. “It’s awesome to see businesses in this day and time that genuinely care. That makes our credit union a hero.”
The readers of Credit Union Magazine vote for the annual Credit Union Hero of the Year. The magazine also honored Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union Association, and Sandra Cano, assistant vice president, business and community development, Navigant Credit Union, Central Falls, R.I., as credit union heroes.