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What a difference one hour and 45 minutes makes. On September 11, in just one hour and 45 minutes, a nation was left stunned, bruised and forever changed. A president proved himself a leader, a controversial New York Mayor grew beloved as he galvanized a city into action, everyday people demonstrated acts of heroism, firemen and police officers replaced celebrities as role models, and devastated Americans joined together to provide a seemingly endless supply of compassion and help. With total losses estimated so far at over $16 billion, the impact on credit unions remains relatively minimal as CUNA Mutual Group reported losses at just under $6 million. From blood donations and fundraisers, to flying 3,000-miles to boost New York tourism, credit unions have turned their philosophy into action. In just three months over $1 million has been raised for relief efforts through both the New York Disaster Relief Fund and the National CU Foundation’s CUs Rebuild America Fund. Designed to support widespread, non-credit union specific relief efforts, CURA donations of approximately $612,000 have been split: 75% totaling $459,000 to the Red Cross, which is focusing on such assistance as food, shelter, and medical care and 25%, totaling $153,000, to the September 11th Fund, for such long-term support as mortgage payment assistance and relocation expenses. The NY Disaster Relief Fund donations will help those most severely impacted Manhattan credit unions, and their staff, volunteers, members and families who suffered losses. The New York State Credit Union League is in the process of determining how to best distribute the funds. Here is just a glimpse at how one hour and 45 minutes made us grieve and yet managed to draw us all closer together in the human spirit of giving.

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