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LOMPOC, Calif. – When tragedy struck the Gulf Coast in the form of Hurricane Katrina, CoastHills Federal Credit Union did more than just forward funds but rather sent over a few good men and women to help the American Red Cross efforts. The relief team, consisting of five credit union employees and two employee alternates, received Mass Disaster Relief training from the Red Cross a few weeks before leaving. Team Member Matt Landre, a trained EMT, is serving at an evacuee post in Ft. Worth, Texas. Members Steve Brown and Marla Hernandez are deployed at the Red Cross Response Call Center in Falls Church, Virginia. The final two team members, Seanna Ochoa and Christina Becker, are headed to another evacuee shelter in San Antonio, Texas. The alternates are Pat Butler and Carl Behmer. “This idea came from staff, and we decided to run with it,” said CoastHills FCU President/CEO Jeff York. “We asked for volunteers, and amazingly, we had nearly 20 employees step forward for consideration, knowing that they would have to leave friends and family behind for three weeks. Honestly, it was difficult to choose which five would go, based on the enthusiastic response from our employees and their willingness to do what they could in conditions that will test their resolve on a daily basis. ” CoastHills will pay the Relief Team Members their full salary during the time they are deployed, as well as expenses and resources required to properly prepare for deployment including supplies and immunization. “ Often in the wake of an event like this it becomes a contest as to who can write the biggest check. Right now, that number is over $500 million and growing. We felt that this would be our most effective way to help and would help to fill their biggest need, ” said York.

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