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<p>CU Times Southwest Correspondent SALT LAKE CITY – When it comes to Olympic volunteers, Utah credit unions have been doing their part, and even one-a CEO doubling as a National Guard officer-might be considered beyond the call of duty, so to speak. “I’m happy I can serve,” said Jeff Blackburn, president of the $13 million Pioneer Credit Union and a member of the Utah Army National Guard who got called up in October to be part of Olympic security this month. Blackburn, who has been doing weekend and early morning Guard training, has a schedule which calls for him to work the owl shift for the Guard from midnight to 8 a.m. He is assigned to a medical team which will treat military and government personnel assigned to the Olympics. “I expect to be working at the credit union from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then go home and get some sleep,” said the 33-year-old Blackburn who has a wife and family. The Pioneer CEO, who served in Desert Storm in 1991, said he considers himself lucky to be working the Olympics rather than be in Afghanistan. “My heart goes out to those guys and others who have served our country so well,” said Blackburn. Though their Olympic schedules are quite different from Blackburn’s, there are dozens of CU employees and volunteers who will be working the Olympics, some taking vacation time to do it. America First Credit Union in Ogden said it is allowing 40 employees to volunteer during the games. “We have a couple of our board members who are involved in security management,” noted Steve Christensen, vice chairman of the Utah League of Credit Unions and president of Tooele Federal Credit Union. “We’re glad that so many credit union employees and volunteers have pitched in.” Karen Seo, a CUNA Mutual account manager in Salt Lake and a devout Olympics fan, is one who certainly began planning early. She applied to become a volunteer in February 1999 “knowing this is something I could not miss.” Seo, who holds a degree in sports medicine and is a former staffer at the Utah League of Credit Unions, is being assigned the Plaza area of downtown where she will be involved in handing out medals to Olympic winners in women’s ice hockey. She also has tickets for the opening ceremonies Feb. 8. Likewise, Marilyn Pearson, vice president of education and training, and Thomas Hartvigsen, director of graphic services at the Utah League, also submitted volunteer applications back in 2000 and are being assigned Olympic duties. Hartvigsen said he expects to be shepherding athletes to and from venues as part of the transportation unit, and Pearson said she is expecting her final assignment any day in telecommunications. She began her volunteer training last February in international client services chauffeuring foreign Olympic executives to and from meetings. “For me this is an opportunity of a lifetime to see the Olympics,” said Hartvigsen who also will be taking vacation time to handle volunteer duties. Gordon Kennedy, executive vice president of Mountain America, said he expects “there are a few people who have asked for time off” to help in the Olympics and the CU has tried to accommodate schedules. “We do have a business to run,” and so Olympic volunteering has to be kept in perspective, he said. One CU executive who asked not be quoted said he’ll be glad “when this is all over” since he is not sure how much carryover business there will be. “They’ve put a lot of money into those venues and it’s fine now, but next summer will they grow weeds?” he asked. Nonetheless, the Olympics are indeed a plus for Utah. “We’re hoping the Olympics will show to the world they never realized the recreation potential that Utah has,” said Gerald Weber, president of Weber State Credit Union. “And those out of town visitors will return” once the 2002 Olympics is history. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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