Emotions Run High at Wegner Awards: Onsite at GAC
WASHINGTON — Attendees at this year’s Herb Wegner Awards for lifetime and individual achievement spent the evening laughing and quietly wiping their eyes as the four award winners recalled their accomplishments and thanked family, mentors and colleagues.
To help celebrate their recognition from the National Credit Union Foundation, Credit Union Times shares these photos and recollections from the Grand Hyatt Washington on Monday night.
“This is not about me winning an award,” said Gary Oakland, retired CEO of the 844,000-member BECU in Tukwila, Wash. “This is about collaboration, friendship and shared values.”
Oakland recalled how from his earliest days in the credit union movement, he had progressed with the creed that it really is all about the member, noting how much of a privilege it has been to be able to go to work each day and know you were going to help people.
Jim McCormack, retired president of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, was unable to attend the awards dinner on account of ill health, but PCUA CEO Patrick Conway, Chairman Maria LaVelle and Senior Vice President Michael Wishnow accepted the award for him.
Wishnow spoke for the trio and drew broad laughter from the audience by suggesting McCormack was unable to attend because he was stuck on a bridge on the way to New Jersey because of Gov. Chris Christie.
Sarah Canepa Bang, president of CO-OP Shared Branching, started off her acceptance of the Herb Wegner Award for Individual Achievement with a flourish, announcing “the mystery is finally solved, this is what I am wearing.”
Canepa Bang, who has been active for years in shared branching as well as different credit union charity and fund-raising efforts, told the audience to cheers that “next to the day I married my husband, Steve Bang, this is one of the happiest of my life,” and added quickly, “You should also know that there is nothing individual about this individual achievement award. I have so many people to thank who deserve my thanks, but there is a great big hook back there with my name on it.”