Thanksgiving made special by Defense Credit Unions

(December 6, 2013) —  The Thanksgiving holiday of 2013 has come to a close and for many Americans all that now remain are fond memories of family, football and of course, the annual turkey feast. While Thanksgiving is that time of year when we turn our thoughts to gratitude and appreciation for all the bounty we enjoy as Americans, the holiday can also be a time of loneliness for countless others, many of whom find themselves separated from family because of their service to our nation.

This year, defense credit unions throughout the US stood tall as they reached out not only to their members—those serving our country and their families—but to their staff and the local community as well, in a spirit of appreciation and thanksgiving. Through their generous efforts, many enjoyed a holiday devoid of loneliness because it was made memorable by people who took the time to care.

At Military and Civilian (MAC) Federal Credit Union in Anchorage, Alaska, members participated in a turkey drive. They were invited to purchase a paper turkey on which they wrote their name. The turkeys were then hung around the branch and the donations from the drive were turned over to the local food bank, but not before MAC matched each donation it received. The turkey drive highlighted a year-long partnership between the credit union and three local charities during which the credit union made a $15 contribution each time a new checking account was opened.

Also, on the day before Thanksgiving, staff helped to box food at the local food bank for delivery to those most in need. And, when it came to staff, MAC purchased turkeys for every employee to show its appreciation for their volunteerism and dedication to the members.

Raelynn Radway, President/CEO at MAC, best summed up her credit union’s generosity this Thanksgiving, saying, “I’m thankful to be part of an organization that believes in giving back and for the opportunity to serve those who are most in need.”

Larry Biernacki, President/CEO at Arkansas Federal Credit Union (AFCU) echoed the same perspective. “This Thanksgiving, I am grateful to be surrounded by caring and loving people who are willing to help others less fortunate; and that we live in a free nation where we can worship freely and without fear,” he said. “Furthermore, Arkansas Federal would like to extend special thanks and best wishes to all of the service men and women and their families this holiday season.”

This year, AFCU marked the holiday in a variety of ways. It hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for all of its employees in addition to giving each a $25 gift card to help offset their holiday expenses.

As a member of the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council, AFCU also helped to host a Thanksgiving meal for all the airmen who are unable to make it home for the holidays. The credit union also made generous donations to various philanthropic organizations throughout the community, including the Little Rock Air Force Base First Sergeant’s Council for Operation Turkey Drop, the North Little Rock Kiwanis Club Thanksgiving baskets, Hope’s Closet and Food Pantry, Jacksonville Sertoma, and the Mt. Springs Elementary canned food drive.

In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this year’s Thanksgiving observance at Service Credit Union extended not only throughout New England but to Germany as well, where the credit union donated 1,000 gift cards to more than 1,250 families in military communities such as Kaiserslautern, Hohenfels, Stuttgart, and Spangdahlem. The gifts helped junior enlisted service members and their families with expenses associated with the holiday. The credit union also partnered with the USO in the purchase of turkeys and side dishes for Thanksgiving dinners for the troops and their families.

Back in the states, Service Credit Union held its eighth annual Food for Families Food Drive at all of its New England locations. Donations from the drive helped to support local food pantries. The credit union also made contributions to the New Hampshire Food Bank and to the Salvation Army to assist needy families with food vouchers.

“Service Credit Union takes pride in our Thanksgiving holiday giving initiatives,” reported Gordon Simmons, President/CEO. “We are fortunate to make a difference in the lives of our members, both in the military overseas and our members stateside. Service Credit Union believes everyone should have a hearty meal during the Thanksgiving holiday!”

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, many defense credit unions are fixing their gaze on December 25th and the various ways they can help brighten the season of giving for America’s military and their families. Based on the extent of the generosity they showed during Thanksgiving, one can only expect that their good cheer will not only herald the joy of the season for many, but also help usher in the hopes and dreams of the New Year as well.

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