The $710 million Firstlight Federal Credit Union of El Paso, Texas has established a facility in cooperation with the United Service Organization to benefit soldiers coming home from Iraq this month.
The combination branch/USO Operations Center will share space with the CU.
"We're honored that our credit union can play an important role now in helping provide both the critical financial needs and support for the dedicated service men and women returning now from the Iraq mission," commented Karl Murphy, president/CEO of Firstlight FCU which opened its new branch on the Fort Bliss Army Base last April. The Fort Bliss base was visited by President Obama on Tuesday in commemorating the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq..
What is exceptional about Firstlight's East Fort Bliss branch is the unusual sharing arrangement it has with the local USO by giving away 6,500 square feet of space of the 18,500 foot property to the military charity, officials said.
The idea of sharing the branch "was certainly one way we could provide support to this organization" said Murphy whose CU is also involved in USO fund-raising.
The joint facility is believed to be first or second largest USO Center in the world, housing an internet caf?, game stations, refreshments, pool tables, theater room and more. The Firstlight branch is connected directly to the USO Center allowing soldiers to stop in to the branch to conduct financial transactions or meet with counselors.
In light of the returning troops due back in coming weeks, Firstlight has also stepped up its many CU-sponsored kids' football camps, waterpark outings, literacy clinics and more to demonstrate backing for the returning troops and spouses, said Murphy.