Some heroes in the credit union industry never actually work as credit union employees.
You might not see them when you cash a check or attend an event. Instead, they work quietly behind the scenes.
Randy Puff is one of these people.
Puff has been a board member at $215 million asset Gerber Federal Credit Union in Fremont, Mich., for 41 years. His day job was at the Gerber Products Co., the maker of Gerber baby food, where he worked in finance, marketing, and sales.
He joined the credit union in 1976 but eventually felt a stirring that he should get more involved. That pull has been with Puff throughout his life, inspiring him to directly participate in his community.
“Community helps keep us grounded,” he says. “We need to remember who we are and where we come from. Each of us should take time to volunteer in our community to better understand those around us. It not only makes us feel better, it can better the lives of others.”
That’s exactly what he’s been doing since 1980, when he joined the Gerber Federal board. He has held every leadership position on the board during his 41 years and is currently serving as vice chair.
Puff says he’s been privileged to make decisions during his tenure that impact every aspect of the credit union, from the members to the associates—even suppliers.
“There can be an impact on a lot of people,” Puff says. “We also have the philosophy of ‘people helping people.’ By putting those two ideas together, my comments and decisions will always have the member at heart, and it will guide me to make the right decisions.”
When he’s not tackling initiatives such as moving the credit union to a federal community charter, or making decisions around new technologies the credit union should adopt, Puff volunteers as a Fremont Area District Library trustee and a Gerber Foundation trustee.
He’s active in his church and has even done some community theater.
Puff will be retiring at the end of his three-year term on the Gerber Federal board. It will leave him more time for golfing but not sway his dedication to volunteerism.
Ultimately, what makes Puff whole is serving his community.