ST HELENS, Ore.- St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union wants U.S. armed forces personnel to know that despite the anti-war protests they may see or hear about, people in this tiny community support the American troops in the Gulf. “They see all the protests going on, especially in our area,” said Lori Connelly, referring to anti-war demonstrations 30 miles away in Portland. “We want them (troops) to know we do support their being over there and support them.” To show that support, the credit union has launched a fund drive with donations to be given to the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services Unit, Iraq division. It is also putting out notebooks for members to write messages to the troops. Those books will then be sent to military personnel overseas. The fund drive has captured the community’s attention, with donation cans being placed at the local bowling alley and at grocery stores. Besides word of mouth, newspaper ads and flyers will also announce the fund drive. “It’s becoming a community fund-raising effort,” said Connelly, the credit union’s marketing manager. The idea for the fund drive came from a new teller at the credit union, who felt something should be done to support the troops, she said. Employees have also been wearing red, white and blue to work and have decorated the office to show their support for the war effort. None of the credit union’s employees are in the military, although one staffer’s brother has been deployed to Iraq, Connelly said. St. Helens Community FCU, with $93 million in assets and 14,600 members, serves south Columbia County. The community is located about 30 miles northwest of Portland, where thousands of protestors gathered the evening of March 20 when the war got under way. “We do a lot with the community,” Connelly said. “We’re a very small community and a very close-knit community. The credit union is involved in many different things. “This is just keeping with our philosophy of people helping people,” she added. “We want to help other people. The community is really responding well to it.” -

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