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HERSHEY, Pa.-”Your Ticket to Ride” was the chosen theme for the 2005 Annual Convention and Exposition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA). And, from the emotional tribute honoring 33 credit union employees and immediate family members of CU employees serving active military duty (see sidebar) to the announcement of several award recipients, the conference turned out to be quite an emotional roller coaster for many of the nearly 1,000 conferees, guests and exhibitors who attended. One of the biggest surprises of the conference was the presentation of the association’s Keystone Award to three individuals: Bruce Foulke, president/CEO of American Heritage FCU in Philadelphia; John Kebles, president/CEO of Choice One FCU in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Bob Marquette, president/CEO of members 1st FCU in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Selection of the winners, by members of the PCUA Awards Committee, is kept secret until presentation. Adding to the award’s prestige is the fact that it is not an annual award but one that is given only to those individuals who truly demonstrate “outstanding and dedicated leadership, support and untiring commitment at all levels of the credit union movement.” This includes political activism, community involvement, fundraising acumen and a devotion to philanthropy. “It was totally unexpected, and I got a little emotional there,” Foulke said after the presentation. “I’m very honored that they would think of me.” “I looked at my wife and asked, `Did you know?’” said Kebles (known as “Kebs” to many of his friends), who also serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation. “Then I said to myself, `They can’t be talking about me.’” “Seriously, though, I’m humbled by it all,” Kebs went on to say. “There are so many good people in the CU movement who do great things. It’s really an honor and an unbelievable award.” The early part of the convention also kept the 13 finalists for this year’s Credit Union Youth Ambassador Program somewhat on pins and needles. Finalists underwent the rigors of a written test on credit union history, as well as an oral presentation before the judges. The Youth Ambassador Program is open to outstanding credit union employees between the ages of 18 and 25. During his or her one-year term, the Youth Ambassador attends various meetings and serves as a liaison to other young people to spread the credit union message. Financial awards of $1,000, $750 and $500 also are presented to the winner and two alternates. “It’s been a great opportunity,” said Michael Cavanaugh of Philadelphia FCU, who was selected as finalist for the Philadelphia Chapter of the association. “I really like the atmosphere, and we’re all friendly.” In the end, and after much deliberation, judges selected Schuylkill Valley Chapter finalist Joseph Gimble of New Visions Community FCU as the 2005 Youth Ambassador, Lauren Haag of Timberland FCU (Shortway Chapter) as First Alternate and Michael Verotsky of the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (Harrisburg Chapter) as Second Alternate. Gimble takes over for 2004 Ambassador Lisa-Marie Lawlor, who also came from the Schuylkill Valley Chapter. Other convention highlights included the General Session keynote address by Benjamin Franklin, portrayed by Ralph Archbold-the official Ben Franklin for the City of Philadelphia. Speaking on the “Spirit of Cooperation,” Mr. Franklin praised CU members for “making a difference in this world, not just for our selves but for others.” He also likened credit union members to the Founding Fathers-”.people who cared about each other, who wanted to help each other and to build a nation.” In his friendly style, Archbold garnered laughs with his “money quiz” (Do you know whose picture is on the $5,000 bill? Answer: James Madison) and sent conventioneers off on a high note by leading them in three “huzzahs” for an “exceptional credit union movement.” Dr. Brian Branch, interim president, CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) delivered the keynote address at the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation breakfast. “Pennsylvania has been a great partner with WOCCU,” Dr. Branch said. He went on to praise the Pennsylvania CU movement for raising $10,000 in donations for tsunami relief. Lastly, during the Annual Members Business Meeting, the association honored Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski for his sponsorship of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvement Act of 2005 (CURIA) and unveiled a portrait of the Congressman (see related story). The following outgoing association directors also were recognized for their service: Bill Bowker, John Buchinski, Georgeann Chamberlain, Margie Coan, Gail Cook, Bruce Foulke, John Gulick, Dave Killa, Kathy Linn, Andy Pistoria, John Richards and PCUA Chairman Ron Laisch. As part of its governance restructuring, PCUA has downsized its board to nine directors. [email protected]

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