All four credit unions in Joplin, Mo., were damaged and closed after a devastating tornado tore through the town Sunday night and killed at least 89 people.
At least one CEO, Cindy Atteberry, president of the $22 million Joplin Metro Credit Union, said she lost her home, demolished in Sunday night’s storm, and her CU reported minor damage at its locations.
At the request of Michael Beall, president/CEO of the Missouri Credit Union Association, the National Credit Union Foundation activated its online relief program, CUAid, soliciting donations from CUs across the U.S. to support CU victims and their families.
MCUA itself made a donation of $10,000 to CUAid to kick-off the fundraising and contributions from CUs brought the total to in excess of $26,000 just hours after activation. The CUAid fund also was activated recently after the devastating tornados across Alabama and much of the South.
In addition to Joplin Metro, the other three Missouri credit unions with branches in Joplin that sustained damage included the $15 million District 7 Highway, the $286 million Great Plains FCU, and the $131 million Postal Federal Community CU.
Postal said its Joplin branch – a CO-OP Network shared facility – was severely damaged and was closed Monday. President Steve Pierson said there were windows blown out, no power and little access. There is no word when the credit union will reopen.
“I hope no one ever has to go through this,” said Atteberry of Joplin Metro. “It’s truly horrible.”
Ken Martin, president of Great Plains, said its offices were damaged and its employees told to stay home.
The Missouri National Guard has closed the area to traffic while it continues its search for storm victims. District 7 Highway CU said it is without power or telephone.
“It’s heartbreaking to see such devastation,” said Beall of MCUA. “With nearly 40,000 members in the area represented by these four credit unions, we know the need for support from the movement will be great. I urge everyone to give what they can to CUAid to help credit unions do what they do best – be there in times of need for their members.”
In addition to its contribution to CUAid, MCUA also has made a $5,000 contribution to the American Red Cross for Missouri tornado victims, said Beall.
“Natural and man-made disasters often create immediate, emergency needs as well as long-term, ongoing needs,” noted the Missouri league stressing that in response, “the National Credit Union Foundation’s CUAid disaster relief funds can be used for a broad range of disaster-related needs such as critical care, long-term recovery, insurance pay-outs, and reasonable operational needs.”