Bert Callender

Bert Callender

Vice president of facility planning and control, La Capitol Federal Credit Union

November 13, 2019

I joined the Army Reserves in 1988, shortly after my brief attempt at college. I started working at La Capitol Federal Credit Union in April 1990, just after I turned 21. Six months into my credit union career, I was activated to go overseas as part of what was then Operation Desert Shield.

Being so young and not at my job for very long, I didn’t realize the impact those relationships would have on me.

My supervisor at the time, Susan Parry (now Leake), stayed in contact with me. She would get everyone to send me letters—it’s always a good thing to get mail during mail call—letting me know how credit union life was going. I would send letters back talking about life in the middle of the desert. Those letters were posted in the employee break room for my friends to see.

My coworkers spent a lot of time and effort keeping me informed about what was going on back home and putting together care packages to send me every two weeks.

What started as a job quickly turned into a family.

After eight months with the Army through the conclusion of what turned into Operation Desert Storm, I returned to find not only my natural friends and family at the airport, but also 15 members of my credit union "family" there to welcome me home.

I’ve been with La Capitol Federal for more than 29 years, and although there have been many good times and several hundred employees I’ve worked with, I will never forget that first year and the people I was so fortunate to work with.

I finished my time in the Army Reserves in the mid-1990s and received my Honorable Discharge from the Army. One day I’ll finish my time with La Capitol Federal as well.

The opportunity to work with so many different people from so many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and different beliefs while in the Army helped me to learn to work as a team and depend on others. By learning that every member of the team had valuable input and viewpoints helped me rely on each team member in my role at La Capitol Federal as well. This will almost always allow for a much more complete and better result than if I try to do it all on my own.

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