Rose, “Miss Rose”, attended every financial education seminar hosted at the Credit Union that year (and we hosted many). Regardless the topic, she listened intently, keen on participation, keen on positivity.
One day, following a retirement and investments seminar, long after the other attendees had departed, I was loading the session’s materials into my car. As I finished up, I spied Miss Rose standing to the side of our building. It was raining and she was huddled there watching me. Save for us, the parking lot was empty. The sky was growing dark. Something inside began to hurt, and before I knew what was what, I was giving a ride to a very happy Miss Rose.
With International Credit Union Day just around the corner, “Global Service. Global Reach” is not just a theme, it’s a mantra. As cooperatives, our mission is people and it is the people before profit philosophy, which keeps our shops open and thriving. In celebration of our cooperativity, we join tens of thousands of credit unions around the world to share the stories and efforts that truly define this movement.
I often tell people my passion for financial education is what inspired me to join the credit union movement, which is mostly true. Each of us has a passion for something. Though on that rainy day with Miss Rose, it was clearer to me than it had ever been before: I wanted to help others.
Today, such clarity has fueled an almost obsessive zeal for the industry. By focusing on my expertise in credit union marketing and community outreach; by working closely with my mentors, teammates, and professional network; and by setting professional goals where experiences with people shine brilliantly, we can all of us flourish as invaluable members of our communities and our credit unions.
When we pulled into Miss Rose’s driveway, I understood she was alone. Her family was long gone and her days, she said, “blended together.” But she mentioned that coming to the Credit Union helped her feel less alone, and that the people there were about the only thing she didn’t forget.
Then Miss Rose told me something I will always remember: while the memories of loved and lost slipped away for her, she would never forget me. This was my Kool-Aid moment, and with it came a powerful urge to lead others to the same awareness.
Early this year, I learned that Miss Rose had passed, peacefully in her sleep. While I could not help feeling sad, I found comfort in knowing she was not alone – she had her Credit Union – and that it was as simple as offering her a ride that made all the difference in her life.