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WASHINGTON-The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Race is not just for D.C.-area credit unions and CU Miracle Day, Inc. is working to get the word out. “What we are trying to do, since it was started as a local event, is say this is a national event,” CUNA Chairman Juri Valdov, CEO of Northwest Federal Credit Union, said. CU Miracle Day, Inc. is working to educate credit unions that the funds raised at home will go to local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Last year, he said, over $450,000 was raised for CMN and the group is working toward the $500,000 to $600,000 range this year with an eye on $1 million in the not-too-distant future. After last year, credit unions had raised just over $1 million since they began sponsoring the race in 2002. “At some point that’s what we’d like to see us raising,” Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union CEO Bob Hess said. “That is the whole point of this is to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network.” The Summit Federal Credit Union CEO Mike Vadala heads up an advisory council to generate more participation in the event from outside the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. He said his goal is to get about 10 credit unions from each region to participate within three years. “A number of credit unions across the country see this as a value to the entire credit union community,” Hess added. Vadala, recovering from a minor surgery in November, has begun training for the event slated for April 2 this year. He will be in good company, according to Hess who said that 5,126 registered runners-over half-so far have identified themselves as credit union members. The race is still open for congressional offices, which he expected would bring in many more credit union members, since most lawmakers and their staffers are members of either his credit union or United States Senate Federal Credit Union. While the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler would not be a race without the runners, where would the runners be without the volunteers handing out water and cheering them on? Hess said he expects about 1,000 volunteers at the start and finish line and along the track that follows the famous cherry blossoms and winds through Washington, D.C. In addition to the money brought in by the race, CU Miracle Day, Inc. raises money through silent and live auctions the Friday night before the race. Last year the auctions raised $30,000 for CMN and included items, State Department Federal Credit Union Vice President for Member Services Charles Holmes explained, such as a signed quilt by NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson, weekend getaways, and art. Holmes said that Johnson has promised to create a full-size quilt for this year’s auction. He added that his credit union is trying to get artwork from children overseas through the Foreign Service Youth Foundation. The deadline for contributions to the auctions is March 31. -

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