Emotions Run High at Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner
WASHINGTON - The Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner is always a special event at CUNA's GAC, and this year's edition was no different. A powerful video presentation on credit unions' efforts in disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina started the dinner on an emotional note. During the video, USA FCU CEO Mary Cunningham sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water", accompanied by Steve Winninger, CEO of State Employees Credit Union of Lansing, Michigan, on piano. Bethex FCU CEO Joy Cousminer gave an animated speech in receiving the Wegner award for individual achievement. Cousminer has been dedicated to helping poor people throughout her life. She was recognized as being a "vicious advocate" for the poor. She urged CUs to give low-income members more one-on-one treatment and to expect losses on low-income loans and to not assume that financial literacy is enough to get people out of the cycle of debt. The cross-border collaboration of the California CU League, the Texas CU League, CPM and WOCCU in the Caja Popular Mexicana Partnership Project was recognized for the outstanding program award. It has helped CPM, Mexico's largest CU, become more efficient and better serve members. Mexico has been plagued by economic problems. Numerica CU CEO Dennis Cutter received the lifetime achievement award. The 40-year CU veteran has not only helped grow his own credit union, but has helped launch a number of initiatives to help the industry, including the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner.