What would Mr. Rogers say?

A half-century after he helped save public broadcasting, what can the TV icon, and my family friend, teach the credit union movement in its own moment of crisis?

The GAC last week provided many memorable moments. There were meetings and conversations about how to keep the credit union movement growing and thriving coupled with speeches from President George W. Bush and Gen. Colin Powell.

It was a historic week of looking forwarding that ended, for me, with a blast from the past.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and the minister of my childhood Presbyterian church was also a remarkable family friend — Fred Rogers.

Yes, when I was a kid, Mr. Rogers would come to my house. No, he did not take off his shoes. Yes, he always wore those cardigan sweaters.

I assumed he came to every kid’s house. That wasn’t the case, but it was through a very special visit in 1969 to one house — well, the Senate, actually — that Mr. Rogers secured his spot in living rooms across the country. That’s when Mr. Rogers — the host, puppeteer, writer, and songsmith behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood— appeared in front of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications to, essentially, save public television.


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