‘CUs have compassion
In April 2011, a tornado leveled vast sections of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“I grew up in Oklahoma, and I’ve seen a lot of tornado damage,” says Mike Bridges, vice president of marketing and communications for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. “But I’ve never seen anything like what I saw in Tuscaloosa. It literally was like a bomb had gone off in part of the city.”
Among the destroyed properties were some 100 homes in a Tuscaloosa Housing Authority (THA) development. THA found new housing for displaced residents. “But these people were left without one stick of furniture, one pot, or anything,” says Tommy Cobb, president/CEO of $53 million asset Tuscaloosa Credit Union. THA is in the credit union’s field of membership.
So Cobb joined forces with THA and a local Baptist church to raise money to buy everything from furniture to dishes to toothpaste, and delivered the goods right to people’s doorsteps. About a dozen credit unions from Alabama and the Florida Panhandle contributed $92,000 to make those purchases.
“Credit unions have compassion, and they trusted us to do the right thing with the money,” says Cobb. “It was that cooperative spirit in action,” adds Bridges.
A disaster recovery plan shouldn’t “sit on a shelf and gather dust,” says Paul Sullivan, vice president and general manager of Agility Recovery. Experts suggest a few steps for creating a living document: