Allegiance Credit Union Survivors Mark Day in Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY - It was a difficult and emotional day for those six employees from Allegiance Credit Union here who took part in 10th anniversary ceremonies and speeches at the site of the old Murrah Federal building that was bombed by domestic terrorists in 1995.
"April is always a difficult month for us but it was all the more so this year," declared Lynette Leonard, president/CEO of Allegiance, the former Federal Employees CU which suffered the biggest staff loss of 18 employees and two volunteers in the Murrah bombing. Joined by Allegiance employees, Leonard spent time April 21 at the ceremonies and speech making downtown noting the six Allegiance survivors as well as other members of her staff "held up pretty well."
Picked long ago as a media spokesman was survivor Amy Petty, vice president of operations, who appeared on separate days in three pre-taped national TV shows, with Katie Couric of Today, on Good Morning America and an hour-long special on CNN. As she has before, in the interviews Petty recalled her harrowing tale of being buried under rubble for six hours before being rescued.
Several weeks earlier Petty drew an ovation from a CUES-Oklahoma Chapter gathering in which she stressed a message of love for your fellow workers and family members.
"I recall her speech as quite moving telling the people you work with how much you appreciate them because you never knew when it will be your last day," said a spokesman for the Oklahoma Credit Union League. Beside Petty, other Allegiance survivors honored during the April 19 ceremonies included: Terry Shaw, business development director; Bobbi Purvine, member services supervisor; Ellen Young, card services officer; Kim Ritchie, branch manager and Lisa Keller, Visa coordinator.
Leonard said the number of participants the CUs is sponsoring in a marathon walk and run April 24 has climbed to 220. The CU which is picking up the $20 entry fees for race participants - many of whom will be CU employees from across the state-had hoped to sign up at least 168.
That is the number who were killed in the Murrah blast and "I'm pleased we even surpassed that figure," said Leonard. "This is something that can never be forgotten and it marks a sense of hope for the future," said Lenoard. "This may be the only year we do this kind of thing."