Monday proved to be a difficult, heartbreaking day for associates at Arizona State Credit Union, as they learned that seven of the 19 firefighters who died Sunday protecting their community from wildfires, were members.
"These brave men were great examples of giving their all to save their community. The cooperative nature of credit unions is founded in this ideal, people helping people. In this case seven of our members lived that motto and as a result gave their lives. We cannot do enough to honor their memories and their sacrifice," said David Doss, CEO of the over $1.4 billion Phoenix-based credit union, which operates five branches in and around the Prescott, Ariz., area.
The 19 men belonged to the elite 20-member Granite Mountain Hotshots from the small town of Prescott and their deaths were the largest loss of life in American wildfire fighting in 80 years.
Doss and Paul Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand spent Monday in Prescott meeting with staff and local officials.
“We are taking steps to contact the families of our members and offer financial assistance,” said Stull. “Members of our staff are very shaken by this loss and we are doing our best to offer assistance.”
The 128,000-member credit union is also accepting donations to benefit the firefighters’ families and others who have lost their homes in this tragedy. Arizona State CU will match donations up to $20,000.
In addition, the credit union is offering 90 days of skip payments, low rate emergency loans, the ability to restructure loans and assistance with insurance and other financial matters needed.
Stull and Doss also reached out to members in the communities of Yarnell and Peeples, Ariz.
“Nearly half of the homes in Yarnell were destroyed. We want to reach out to our members proactively rather than wait for them to contact us,” said Stull.
Those also wanting to help can send donations to CEO Dave Doss, 2355 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Phoenix AZ 85027.
“We have already heard from the Mountain West Credit Union Association, which is sending a donation,” said Stull. “We are grateful for any support that will directly help these families.”