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EUGENE, Ore. – The $4.2 million Oregon Urban and Rural Federal Credit Union, based in Eugene, has started a fund to help the families of eight local firefighters who were killed in an auto accident while returning from fighting one of the forest fires in Idaho. “We are small credit union and we have a small voice, but we believe in the credit union philosophy of people helping people and we believe we can have a big impact,” said Loretta Moesta, CEO of the community development credit union. O.U.R. FCU was founded in 1969 and has a long history of working with firms which hire and supply the firefighters that, every summer, keep more of the nation’s forests from going up in smoke, Moesta explained. The eight firefighters were killed on August 24 on the way back from a stint firefighting when their van was struck by full sized truck. The van was engulfed in flames, killing all inside. “This is a very small, close knit community,” Moesta said. She pointed out that the deaths of the young men, all of whom were less than 23 years of age, had left their families tragically blighted and in many cases in real financial need. Every year, she explained, these firms, some of which are in the credit unions’ field of membership, hire young men and women from a lot of different backgrounds to fight the West’s forest fires. Because the money is very good during the summer, she said, the job attracts minorities as well as young men and women just out of high school. Sometimes they use the money for school in the fall, she said, but in many cases they need the money for their families. One of the young men left behind a young child of three. Another an elderly father whose only source of income, other than his son’s help, is social security. Donations to the fund for the fallen firefighters can be made out to the FirstStrike Fallen Firefighters Fund and sent to: O.U.R. FCU P.O. Box 11922 Eugene, Oregon, 97440

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