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DETROIT – Long-time colleagues and friends of Pete Crear turned out at a special dinner hosted by the African-American Credit Union Coalition to watch the CUNA & Affiliates Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer receive the AACUC’s first lifetime achievement award. The awards ceremony in Crear’s honor came during a moving tribute dinner that brought long-time colleagues and new mentees here to expound on the far reaching impact the industry veteran has had on the movement. Crear’s career spans nearly 40 years, starting at the Michigan Credit Union League, where he spent 20 years, working up the ranks to senior vice president and organizing 23 credit unions. He also served as president of the Indiana and Connecticut state leagues and executive director of the Association of Credit Union League Executives. He joined CUNA in 1990 as senior vice president of association services and served as interim president in 1995 and 1996. Crear also serves on several boards including the U.S. Central Credit Union and Consumer Federation of America. Even with his busy travel schedule, Crear’s reach was undeniably felt at the award ceremony. A host of friends attended the affair, surprising Crear who didn’t expect to see so many familiar faces. Seated next to his wife Diane and daughter Joya and describing himself as one who’s never at a loss for words, Crear was visibly moved by the outpouring of adoration. Joya held back tears when she said “your leadership has to do with who I am today,” and Diane penned an inspirational poem set to music honoring her husband of 37 years. Crear’s friend and colleague, Jim Blain, former MCUL assistant managing director said “Michigan has produced a lot of good people but no one has gone as far as Crear,” adding “he’s the top man at CUNA.” More emotional praise came from Allan McMorris, president/CEO of Oakland County Credit Union and CUNA Executive Committee Member-at-large, who considers Crear a father figure and “was five years old” when Crear started his career in Michigan. Bill Austin, retired president/CEO of Livonia Public Credit Union recalled amusing memories including starting a motor home business (“neither of us knew a thing about it”) to Crear’s cost cutting strategies, which jokingly demoted Austin to janitor, complete with broom provided by his long-time golfing buddy. “I can’t think of anyone who’s done more for credit unions than Pete,” Austin said. In a video message, CUNA & Affiliates President/CEO Dan Mica said credit union land is a better place because of Crear’s unyielding efforts. AACUC board members presented Crear with a bronze eagle statue comparing the mover and shaker as “being the wind beneath our wings.” In true humble fashion, Crear said, “the award is a good thing to have, but I treasure your friendship more,” praising credit unions for having the “enormous power to be agents of change.” “There are five things I want to pass on – always do the best you can, be respectful, don’t dwell on failures, err on the side of fairness, and don’t spend your time on the small stuff.” Crear’s legacy has also spawned the creation of the Pete Crear Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship to be awarded by the AACUC annually. -

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