Children Provide Strong Theme of 2013 Wegner Awards at GAC
Children provided an urgent and charming backdrop to the National Credit Union Foundation's 2013 Herb Wegner Memorial Awards dinner this year as the Foundation recognized programs and individuals whose lives and careers have been involved with young people.
The event recognizing Credit Union Miracle Day, along with Hubert Hoosman Jr, CEO of Vantage Credit Union and Rick Craig, retired CEO from America First Federal Credit Union took place last night at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.
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Giving the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Program to the Credit Union Miracle Day highlighted the impact that a little physical activity can have in the lives of sick children and the organizations and facilities dedicated to helping them recover.
Credit Unions have long supported the Children's Miracle Network, a collection of hospitals dedicated to researching childhood illness and providing treatment, often free of charge, to sick children across the country. Credit Union Miracle Day is one of the mechanisms credit unions have used to advance their support through a program called Credit Unions for Kids.
Credit Union Miracle Day raises money by sponsoring charitable foot races in Washington DC, Sacramento, California and in U.S. army bases in Kuwait and Germany. The effort has raised $5.5 million through the races.
Juri Valdov, long time credit union executive and industry leader serves as Chairman of the Credit Union Miracle Day effort and accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
In his remarks, Valdov recalled how he and long time credit union industry leader Bill Brooks had initially thought it would not be that difficult to organize the organization's first race, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile in Washington DC in 2002.
“We imagined we could show up and put this thing together a couple of weeks before,” Valdov said. 'But we soon learned that it took a good deal more than that.”
Since then, the organization has seen its original race grow to become one of the signature springtime events in Washington and has added similar races in Sacramento, California as well as in the army bases.
The races all take place on or around the same day, and organization reported that they have sparked companion fund raising efforts and have raised credit unions' profile with both federal and California lawmakers, as well as with consumers and the public at large.
Hubert Hoosman (pictured left) won recognition with the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Individual Achievement for his leadership efforts both as CEO of the 100,000-member, $702 million Vantage Credit Union as well as with the African American Credit Union Coalition.
The award recognized that Hoosman had risen through the ranks at the credit union for 30 years, taking the reins at the institution in 2994 and that his leadership has been characterized by programs the credit union has launched to help financially under served and lower income areas nearby and to reach out with internships and other programs aimed at young adults in its field of membership.
Working with the AACUC, Hoosman led Vantage to donate $50,000 to the effort to construct a memorial to the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King and to encourage 134 other credit unions, 13 credit union leagues, three corporate credit unions or industry trade associations, and six CUSOs to also contribute, totally $1.3 million.
In his remarks, Hoosman expressed gratitude to a wide range of supporters, colleagues and other executives who he said had mentored him over his career and he urged credit unions to refrain from making loan underwriting decisions solely on credit scores.
Hoosman said he he would expect a credit union, upon finding a potential borrower with a bad mark on their credit, to ask a two word question before making a decision on the loan: what happened? “Everyone has bad things that happen to them,” Hoosman said.
Former CEO and executive Rick Craig's own children and grandchildren helped bolster the theme of supporting children during the presentation of his Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement. Some of his grandaughters appeared with him on the podium at the end of his remarks as he held a grandson, pictured left.
Craig's award recognized his long work on different credit union organizations as well as his exemplary work at political organizing as he helped America First and other credit unions in Utah fend off a number of different political attacks from the banking lobby in that state.
America First FCU was recognized in 2007 by the Credit Union Times as having the most “Outstanding Political Action” program in the country.
The award also recognized Craig's 31 year involvement and leadership with the Western CUNA Management School where Craig was involved in teaching a number of different topics and helped educated more than 3000 other credit union executives.