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On Sept. 24, Hurricane Rita came ashore, and cut a path of destruction through Southeast Texas. I would like to share our experiences of how various individuals and credit unions came to our aid. Our five branches were impacted by severe damage to the electrical and communications infrastructure. Faced with those challenges and an evacuated staff we called on credit unions outside our area to help out. Help they did. Our management team immediately began receiving calls on cell phones from our members in dire need to access their credit union funds. We put out a call to Texas credit unions with a plea for them to take care of our members. We were able to send our evacuated members to them for help. The following CUs responded with enthusiasm: *Associated Credit Union of Texas, Transtar Credit Union (both Houston-based) *FirstMark Credit Union, San Antonio *Neighborhood Credit Union Credit Union of Texas, Dallas *Educational Employees Credit Union, Fort Worth *Greater Texas Credit Union, Austin I am reticent to name individuals, but would be remiss if I didn’t single out some who worked so hard to get us back up. Since we were dealing with no electricity and 100 degree heat, conditions were miserable. Jack Click CEO of Associated Credit Union of Texas and James Tuggle, CEO of Transtar Credit Union quickly came to our aid. After accessing our needs, they organized a relief drive and made countless calls for help. Gas cans were sold out so they organized a can drive and employees from credit unions brought gas cans. They convoyed from Houston traveling through our debris scattered streets to bring food, water, ice, and-most importantly-gasoline to those of us trying to re-open our main branch. Learning that our phones were down and with no cell service, they even brought satellite phones to aid in communication. Kenny Harrington with Member Source Credit Union delivered a large amount of currency as we were out and Brinks had stopped delivering to our area. Worried about looting, I was reluctant to accept a mobile branch offered by Jack. However, with his persistence, I accepted the branch and it turned out to be exactly what we needed. The best part about it was the working ATM it provided. We later received another mobile branch from Dale Roberts, CEO of Primeway FCU which we used in Jasper, Texas, an area hit very hard by Rita. To effectively handle member communications, Jack Click offered to set up an area in his credit union located south of Houston for our call center representatives to work to answer hundreds of calls coming in. We quickly moved evacuated employees there to man the center. Jack provided phones, desks, office supplies, and even a script for our Call Center Employees. His inspiration and enthusiasm in finding solutions to our vast problems were immeasurable. His attitude and that of his staff to put credit union members first was inspiring. Many other selfless acts of help came from various sources including the Houston Chapter of Credit Unions, Primeway Federal Credit Union, Members Source Credit Union, Beacon FCU, and Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union They and the Texas Credit Union League and Member Service Centers, Inc. were instrumental in getting us back to the business at hand.member service. Because of all of this incredible help, within three business days of the strike we were offering full service to our members who desperately needed access to cash and also to members of other area credit unions that were affected by the storm. One member actually began to weep with relief when she saw that we were open. The outpouring of support and willingness to help was both humbling and awe-inspiring. The leadership, creativity, generosity, and strength we received from so many thoughtful individuals were instrumental in focusing our recovery process and maintaining my sanity during this trying time. Our employees have all returned safely and despite that their homes are battered, their spirit is gladdened by the outpouring of gratitude our members have shown. On behalf of our members, the board, and my staff, I want to express thanks to everyone for helping us serve our members. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Chris McDonald President and CEO Mobiloil Federal Credit Union Beaumont, Texas

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