From Illinois to Virginia, top credit union executives have been putting the rubber to the road this spring, joining a host of local and national bike marathons and in the process contributing to successful charity fundraisers.
Most of the credit union CEO riders agree that 2012 seems to be a big year for industry participation.
“We’re delighted we could join the national Bike to Work Day last week when we could help by soliciting donations for our own charity, the We Promise Foundation,” explained Ronald Burniske, CEO of the $1.9 billion Chartway FCU of Virginia Beach and an avid rider.
Fitness-minded Chartway, which during the year sponsors a variety of employee and public athletic events to support charities in Virginia Beach as well as at its Utah branches. counts up $700,000 raised for worthy causes last year.
That number includes funds collected from two separate bike races, one the arduous We Promise Century Bike Tour, which stretches from Chesapeake, Va., into North Carolina. That race is broken down into three separate tracks–100 miles, 50 miles and 33 miles. Under a website banner, “Ride for the Challenge, Not the T-Shirt,” Chartway maintains employee pledges “will help us make dreams come true for countless children who are battling life-threatening illnesses.”
In honor of Bike to Work Day May 18, at least 71 Chartway employees with Burniske in the lead biked in loops around credit union headquarters during the day, managing to raise $7,100. Burniske himself did 100 miles in three separate 33-mile turns.
“I do enjoy it, and I hope to continue until father time catches up with me,” confessed Burniske.
Meanwhile in Illinois, Michael Rosek, president/CEO of the $80 million Rock Valley Credit Union in Loves Park, Ill. outside Rockford. took part in Bike To Work Day by riding the seven miles from his home, dodging school buses and taking the side roads, and managed to raise $1,500 for a local charity that sends seriously ill children to summer camp.
Riding separately from her home was Rock Valley’s Kim Summers, teller supervisor.
One of the industry’s well-known riding groups, the Little Guy racers of the North Carolina Credit Union League and Carolina Corporate, were set to gather gear and mount their bikes for another rigorous run across the North Carolina mountains next week.
At least 10 veteran cyclists were to ride the 366 miles, starting May 29 in Shallotte, N.C., and biking across eastern and central portions of the state, ending up June 3 in Clarksville, Va.
In this case, the bicyclists will be raising funds for two children’s hospitals in the Carolinas in conjunction with CUNA’s campaign supporting the Levine Children’s Hospital Rooftop Garden Renovation project. That drive is in line with credit union fundraising efforts at this summer’s GOP and Democratic conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte.
John Radebaugh, president/CEO of the North Carolina League and also an active runner, said the Little Guy troupe cross trains nearly every day and that includes separate runs and bike trips. But training, he said, takes a back seat to the actual cause the group is raising money for.
In addition to Radebaugh, other riders in the Memorial Day run include Eric Gelly, executive vice president/chief operating officer of the league; David Brehmer, CEO of First Carolina Corporate and Jeff Jones, CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union of Rocky Mount. John McGrail, Carolinas Credit Union Foundation CEO, is doing backup by driving the support vehicle for the team each day, said a league spokesman.
Jones said the Little Guy run over the holiday weekend will indeed be a personal challenge. “I have been biking for 25 years, but this will be an undertaking, But I’m ready,” said Jones who rides 100 miles a week near his home. In the past, he has done some charity benefits in connection with league chapter rides, but this will be the first that is this long.
The Little Guy troupe expects to ride mornings for six consecutive days, “and by the afternoons or evening when we check in and recover, I hope to get on the Internet and do some work,” said Jones.