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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Arrowhead Credit Union offered a big salute on Memorial Day weekend to members of the U.S. military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan by running a full page color advertisement in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper. “I think the culture of our credit union has always been patriotic and we’re very proud of the nation as a whole,” said Maurice Calderon, senior vice president of governmental affairs, who came up with the idea. Calderon said that while the credit union wasn’t involved in partisan politics, “we will always support those causes and those individuals that further America along.” The full-page ad, headlined “Faces of Freedom,” featured photos showing 17 Armed Forces members with their names and relationship to an employee of Arrowhead Credit Union. One photo was not available but still carried the name of the Army officer and his connection to the credit union. “Arrowhead Credit Union salutes the men and women of America’s Armed Forces,” the ad said. “Freedom isn’t free. It comes with sacrifices. At Arrowhead Credit Union, we appreciate the many sacrifices made by our troops and their families – today and throughout America’s history.” The ad ran in the Sun on Sunday, May 29. “We are very proud of our troops and felt it appropriate to take action in actively supporting the traditions and in honoring the freedom of America,” he said. “We also are very proud of all of our servicemen and women who have preserved America’s freedom throughout our history.” Calderon, who does not have any family serving in the military, said he was unaware of any other credit unions which have run ads similar to the one prepared by Arrowhead. “I’m sure they must have done spin offs but not what we’ve done,” he said. Calderon said he hoped the credit union would do something in the future to honor U.S. troops. “I feel very patriotic, so I hope we would do something for our veterans,” he said. “I would like to see us do it again. “But,” he added, “I hope we don’t have troops away somewhere in harms way.” At least 1,647 U.S. troops have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded in Iraq as of May 27, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Another 187 American military personnel have died and nearly 500 others wounded in and around Afghanistan, the department reported. Throughout history, more than one million soldiers have died, in and out of battle, while defending the U.S. In addition, some 1.5 million were wounded. -

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