Patrick LaPine and team From left to right: Tanya DeVlieger, member investment director for Corporate America CU; Jim Warren, president/CEO for Tyndall FCU; Gisli Magnusson, member advisor leader for Corporate America CU; and Patrick La Pine, president/CEO for LSCU, work together to assess and organize supplies to deliver to credit unions in need in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

When Hurricane Michael roared out of the Gulf in 2018 with little warning, the Category 5 storm affected the population in the Southeast, especially the Panhandle of Florida. Many of our credit unions, whose goal was always to serve members during a time of great need, were impacted. Michael was one of only four Category 5 hurricanes to touch down in the U.S., and was responsible for 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage.

The Panhandle, stretching from Tallahassee to Panama City, endured the greatest impact. Many credit unions were without power, and in some cases, heavily damaged. Our initial goal was to identify the status of each credit union and its branch locations. As we began to attempt to reach our credit unions, we realized this would be no easy task. Almost all communication channels were down. Social media pages were helpful in reaching some folks, texting worked at times, and occasionally a credit union leader would get a clear signal to call if they were in the right spot.

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