Fourteen community development credit union volunteers with, among them, over 400 years of service to their institutions and communities have been recognized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.
The National Federation recognized the group in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose birthday is celebrated with a federal holiday Monday.
Dubbed the Martin Luther King Drum Majors for Service, the honorees were chosen, in part, because of the link between CDCUs and the civil rights movement, explained National Federation CEO Cliff Rosenthal.
"Many CDCUs were born in response to the injustices, economic and otherwise, that the civil rights struggle sought to address," Rosenthal said, "so it was only fitting that these CDCU leaders be honored with the Drum Majors for Service Award, named after the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."
The Federation declared the “common bond” among the honorees is their “heartfelt dedication, passion and genuine caring for others” and published a statement from one of the honorees, Melvina Johnson, a board member at All Souls FCU with more than 40 years of service to the 200-member, $268,000 CDCU in New York City.
"I joined the credit union movement because there was a time when people, in particular minorities, could not get money or access to credit, especially in our area [Harlem]," said Johnson. "The credit union, which is now over 50 years old, was formed specifically to help these people and our community to prosper.
“I got involved because of my deep feelings for the movement and because I wanted to help people," she continued, "I did not anticipate my own personal growth from my volunteer work, but across the years I have learned much and have gotten such pleasure from seeing others in my community learn how to save and to realize what being a member of a credit union can do to help them."