James “Jeff” Jefferson

Board secretary, SAFE Credit Union

November 9, 2020

I have been a part of the credit union movement since 1968. I’ve been a member of SAFE Credit Union and McClellan Federal Credit Union since 1982, serving on various committees, including the McClellan Federal Credit Union Board of Directors and the supervisory committee. I am currently the secretary of the board, chairman of the policy committee, and a member of the information technology committee at SAFE Credit Union.

I held various management positions at McClellan Air Force Base and was the senior enlisted advisor (now titled “command chief master sergeant”) to two commanders of the Sacramento Air Logistics Center.

I am a Vietnam War veteran and served during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

I serve as a volunteer with the Sacramento Infragard Member Alliance, a non-profit organization that represents businesses, academic institutions, and state and local law enforcement agencies. It is dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States.

I am a certified volunteer expert through the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.

I believe that serving in the military not only instills discipline, but also a sense of community and teamwork. When you come up as an enlisted soldier, sailor, or airman, you learn to do whatever it takes to work together as a team.

Plus, when you advance in rank, and don’t have to necessarily live from paycheck to paycheck, you have an empathy for those under your watch that have to survive on a meager salary with a wife and family, because you have been there and have walked in their shoes. This empathy works well as a board member because most of our members are designated as low income. We then must do everything we can to provide products and services that will sustain them. It reminds me of when we maintained food attics for those in need, and we provided annual scholarships for those who wanted to attend college. 

Help those so they can help themselves. Discipline, teamwork—all for a common cause—translates well from the military to a credit union board room.

► Check out more reader-submitted stories.