Archive for the ‘Credit Unions’ Category

Team Little Guy Rides Again!

May 2, 2012

Click the above image for more information and to view the sponsor form

After a long hiatus, Team Little Guy is prepping to clip in and ride once again! The team will be winding their way through eastern NC from May 29 – June 3 in order to raise funds for the Levine Children’s Hospital Rooftop Garden Renovation project!

In addition to the Levine project, credit unions in North and South Carolina are partnering together to renovate the lobby of the Children’s Hospital in Greenville, SC. Your gifts to help support these two organizations will bring hope and inspiration to patients and families in the years to come.

The ride starts in the Brunswick County town of Shallotte and winds its way north and gradually west to the Virginia border town of Clarksville. That’s 366 miles in six days!

The NC portion of the ride is part of the larder 2012 Community Tour, which extends from Miami, Florida to Portland, Maine from mid May to early July. During the NC stretch of the ride, the team will participate in the Co-op-A-Fair in Durham on June 2.

Right now, the team needs credit unions to step up and commit corporate donations to the ride. In addition, we encourage credit unions to raise funds in branches through the summer. To help, the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation is coordinating a Children’s Miracle Network paper balloon sale.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact John McGrail ( at the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation! You may also view the sponsor form for more details.

In the meantime, we’ll have much more coming soon about this exciting event!

Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour Coverage: The Jacksonville Daily News

June 20, 2010

Jacksonville Daily News Photographer Don Bryan takes a photo of TLG at the finish.

Reporter Hope Hodge and Photographer Don Bryan of the Jacksonville Daily News filed a terrific story on the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour. TLG thanks this pair of media pros for coming out in the rain and doing such a great job!

You can read all about it here.


Day Three Recap: A Warm Welcome … & Our Heartfelt Thanks to You

June 20, 2010

The riders at the end of their 230 mile journey.

After the mayhem of Catfish Lake Road on the afternoon of day two, the team climbed back aboard their bikes and put in the final pedal strokes to Jacksonville! The final leg of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour started in Havelock and headed south by Camp Lejeune to Marine FCU’s headquarters location.

The riders, who had SFC Andy McCaffrey along for the trip, added another Andy in Havelock. Capt. Andy Davidson, a member of the US Navy and a Hope for the Warriors rider, joined us for the final day’s ride. He was joined by several other Hope for the Warriors riders who joined TLG about five miles from the ending point of the tour.

The third day was most uneventful, and a few rain showers helped to keep the temperature in check later in the morning when the ride was nearing the end.

Dozens of people gathered in Jacksonville to welcome the team at the end of the tour.

Meanwhile in Jacksonville, dozens of people from Hope for the Warriors and Marine FCU gathered to welcome the riders as they came off the road after the 230 mile adventure. They were joined by dignitaries from Camp Lejeune, as well as John Phelps, the artist who is designing a sculpture for the Hope for the Warriors Care Center at Camp Lejeune. Phelps’ son Chance was killed in Iraq in 2004. Chance Phelps was the subject of the remarkable movie Taking Chance, which aired on HBO last year. A portion of the funds raised by credit unions will be used for the sculpture to be placed outside the Care Center.

Tired legs and other aches were quickly forgotten as the riders were served a hearty lunch and honored for their 230-mile achievement. But really, this is the achievement of credit unions and credit union organizations that wanted to support a terrific organization that is meeting the needs of severely injured service members.

Raising $161,000 in nine months — and a good chunk of that total coming in less than a week — is the real accomplishment. That accomplishment belongs to each of you, and will provide hope today and in the future to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given so much for their country.

From the time we began the this journey in Fayetteville and all the way to Jacksonville at the end, TLG was warmly received and thanked. Our only wish is that the many people who believe in this cause and supported it so generously could have been along for the ride — because all the thanks belong to you.


Day Two Recap: A Dust-up on the Way to Havelock

June 20, 2010

"Anybody seen Team Little Guy??"

Day two of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour was, in a word, eventful. After successfully manhandling the broiling sun on the trip from Fayetteville to Goldsboro on day one, the team awoke Friday to a bit cooler and less humid weather to start the day.

The team further capitalized on the break in the weather by starting a bit earlier than planned, and before Noon, the riders had already chewed up half the day’s route and sat enjoying lunch by a shady mill pond in the town of Trenton.

If the day had ended there, we’d be sunshine and smiles over 45 miles. But biking, just like life, doesn’t always hand you the crisp, neat Hollywood ending all the time. But it can make that ending all the more satisfying.

Leaving Trenton, Agnoli asks, "What could possibly go wrong?"

And I’d say the members of Team Little Guy were more than satisfied with ending day two.

As the morning pressed into the afternoon, the bright summer sun turned the comfortable start to the day into a fleeting memory — and the humidity that hangs over the coastal areas of NC started to bear down as the team pressed south toward Havelock and the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point. The support van raced ahead of the riders, taking the four lane comfort of US Highway 17  to the outskirts of New Bern and then picking up US Highway 70 and heading south to intercept the riders on the eastern side of the Croatan National Forest.

The riders, meanwhile, were taking the “road less traveled” from the small town of Maysville to the west side of the Croatan NF, where they would cross over and intercept the van outside Havelock. At mid-afternoon, the van and riders were separated by 17 miles and just one road — Catfish Lake Road.

(Cue dramatic, twist-in-plot music here.)

The support van headed down Catfish Lake Road, which quickly went from pavement to dirt with a smattering of gravel. The resulting dust kicked up by the support RV was one thing. The “helpful” washboard texture of the road made driving over it bumpy.

How bumpy? If anyone down that way finds my dental fillings, please slip them in an envelope and mail them back to me. Thanks!

The entire RV rattled as if it would come apart, even though Slack kept the speed down to about 10-12 mph. When locals breezed by in pickup trucks (what must they have been thinking??), giant plumes of dust would envelop the RV.

As we plodded along, my phone suddenly rang. It was E-man, who asked simply, “Where are you guys?” Replying with easily the greatest understatement of the ride, I said, “Catfish Lake Road. It’s slow going.”

Our riders, who were zipping along on the other side of the same road at about the same speed as the RV, got a kick out of that one.

So there we were – the RV heading west and the riders heading east. 17 miles of gravel, dust and washboard. Nothing to do but close the gap, pick up the riders and head back east.

About an hour and a half later, we were back on the pavement and turned the riders loose again. Just 10 miles to go until the riders reached the Marine Federal Credit Union branch in Havelock. Or put another way, just nine miles to go until Agnoli’s tire went flat. It was that kind of day.

TLG - dusty, but happy to be in Havelock

Nevertheless, TLG safely reached the end of day two a little rattled (literally!) and two or so hours later than planned. But the team was thankful for the folks at Marine FCU in Havelock who rolled with the punches and gave us a warm welcome, complete with snacks, when we arrived. The team was also very grateful to Ken Buday of the Havelock News for sticking around, talking to the guys and working up a story on the ride and Hope for the Warriors.

The team handled the days twists beautifully and went to Crabby Patty’s to have fish dinners and to laugh about the afternoon’s escapades.

No one had catfish.


A Very Special Guest – A Wonderful Announcement

June 16, 2010

The business portion of the 75th Annual Meeting in Pinehurst has just concluded, and the final fundraising tally has just been announced. After a very moving presentation by Robin Kelleher and Chris Hedgcorth of Hope for the Warriors last evening, credit unions proudly walked up to the microphones this morning to announce their gifts to the organization.

Before doing so, LTC Thomas Heyden made an appearance live via Skype from Iraq to say hello to the audience. Heyden thanked everyone for their cards, letters and packages of support in the months he has been deployed – he also encouraged the team to ride hard to Jacksonville.

Then it was time to present the final donations to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation. One by one, people stepped to the microphone and shared how they had come to raise the funds. One chapter held raffles, another chapter held a bike ride in March. One credit union had a special board meeting last night to vote on a special contribution.

Gifts of all sizes flowed in, including a $35,000 contribution from Palmetto Cooperative Services and $43,000 from Marine Federal Credit Union. But every dollar counted and every gift was very meaningful.

In the end, credit unions combined to blow by the $100,000 goal by contributing an amazing $161,000 to Hope for the Warriors!

With a 230 mile bike ride starting tomorrow, $161,000 equals about $700 per mile. More fundamentally, the numbers provide hope, encouragement and support to the men and women who have given so much of themselves in the cause of freedom.

Thank you, credit unions – and Ride Little Guy Ride!


The Credit Union Family Responds to the Call of Hope for the Warriors!

June 15, 2010

Over the last several months, credit unions have generously given money to support Team Little Guy in its bid to raise $100,000 for Hope for the Warriors. Much of this fundraising has been based on the relationships that exist within the credit union system – the “people helping people” family that is credit unions.

Tonight at the NC Credit Union League Annual Meeting in Pinehurst, about 300 credit union people got to hear firsthand the wonderful work Hope for the Warriors is doing in the lives of America’s Heroes. The organization’s President/CEO Robin Kelleher and CW04 Chris Hedgcorth of the Wounded Warrior Barracks in Jacksonville shared very personal stories about the work Hope for the Warriors is doing in so many critical areas.

One story included a young man who lost both his legs in Iraq and, upon returning home, was denied the simple pleasure of playing on the beach with his children. His wish, which Hope for the Warriors was able to grant in part through the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, was to have a backyard pool so he could safely share the experience of playing with his children in the water once again.

Once Robin and Chris were done, NC President/CEO John Radebaugh announced that TLG/Hope for the Warriors tee-shirts and hats would be available for purchase just outside the banquet hall. He challenged the 300 people gathered to collectively raise $3,000.

The credit union people swarmed the table, opening their wallets and hearts and when all was said and done, $5,357 had been raised — in about 15 minutes!

Many of us know that the military is a form of family — that’s especially true of warriors who have been seriously injured on the battlefield. In a different, but still very meaningful way, credit unions are family as well.

It was wonderful indeed to see the credit union family respond so powerfully tonight!

Tomorrow, credit unions and credit union organizations from both Carolinas will present final checks to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation and complete the fundraising efforts on behalf of Hope for the Warriors. From there, TLG will embark on a three-day bicycling trek to five NC military bases and 230 miles later, present the final check to Hope for the Warriors.

One family will touch another. And Hope will carry forward into the future.


Bike Tour Recap: An Attitude of Gratitude!

March 23, 2010

What a wonderful day we had with the NW Chapter of Credit Unions! The Chapter pulled off its first annual Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour without a hitch on Saturday, March 20th! There are so many people and organizations deserving of thanks. Here are a few who come immediately to mind – if I’ve left anyone off the list, please add them in the comments section!

  • The NW Chapter for having the vision, passion and energy to create this new event!
  • The volunteers from the credit unions who showed up at 6:30 am and stuck with it to the end. You made sure all the riders’ needs were met! You  rock!
  • Mock Orange Bikes in Winston-Salem (especially Charles Von Isenburg), which committed time and support to helping the Chapter effectively plan the bike ride – and for supporting the riders on the bike tour.
  • John Spivey & Jennifer Betson of Allegacy FCU for committing significant time to the project, and for the members of the Allegacy Marketing team who designed posters, tee-shirts and wristbands for the ride.
  • The riders, who committed to giving up a sunny Saturday to ride for a great cause, and encouraged their friends to donate.
  • The more than 100 donors who combined to raise about $13,000 for Hope for the Warriors!
  • The riders who came all the way up from Jacksonville to ride with us, including Will Fetters, who slept in his car in Lewisville the night before!
  • The service members in Iraq and Afghanistan whose mission continues.

Thanks to everyone who gave so generously of their time and talents! See you next year!


For Team Little Guy Riders, LTC Heyden Is Constant Presence

March 22, 2010

What a beautiful day for a bike ride on Saturday! About 50 riders participated in the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour, which was put together by the NW Chapter of Credit Unions. The Chapter did an outstanding job organizing the ride and making sure the needs of each rider were met! (More on that in a later post.)

For now, check out the above video featuring some of the Team Little Guy riders who were able to make it on Saturday. Each rider came committed to support Hope for the Warriors, an outstanding organization doing some wonderful things on behalf of America’s heroes.

But Team Little Guy has a hero of its own – LTC Thomas Heyden of CUNA Mutual Group, who is in Iraq through the end of the year. Though separated by thousands of miles – LTC Heyden is never far from our thoughts and prayers.

Each TLG rider has committed to wear a wristband that says simply, “LTC Thomas Heyden – 400 Days,” until he safely returns to NC from the Middle East. Stay safe, Tom.


Guest Post: Why I’m Riding with Team Little Guy on Saturday

March 17, 2010
Editor’s note: Members Credit Union President/CEO Jack Braswell and his wife Susan are riding in the first annual Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour on Saturday, March 20th in Lewisville. Braswell made the following remarks to Credit Union Times Reporter Jim Rubenstein for a print story about the bike tour that is scheduled to run  on Friday, March 19th.  A CU lifer, Braswell has been with Members for more than 30 years, including 19 as CEO.   
My wife and I  took up “casual bike riding”  last year and rode  hybrid type bikes on weekends last summer. Susan likes to hike and I enjoy playing golf and as we thought about ways we could spend more time together, biking seemed like a  new and fun activity we could do together in our free time.     

This year we decided to purchase “road” bikes for longer rides. We even took the dive and bought “clipless shoes and pedals.” We have been out twice on our new bikes and have a grand total of 82 miles under our belts for those two rides. The clipless pedals have been an adjustment. We are still in the “yes I fell down” stages of learning how to ride with our feet  strapped to the pedals (which feels like a straight jacket when you don’t get unclipped while stopping and are falling yet again !).  

Even though we don’t have a lot of time in the saddle so far, we’re excited about the ride on Saturday! Susan and I try to exercise 5 or 6 days every week for 20-30 minutes a day, so we are in decent shape. We have ridden parts of the mapped out route and I  am not sure I am in good enough shape to tackle the tough hills on the ride but we are going to give it our best shot.   

We got behind the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour because I want to support our Chapter and its causes. Although I haven’t visited any military facilities to see any injured vets,  a former employee of our credit union is Thomas Heyden who is an officer in the Army Reserves and is currently deployed in Iraq. Thomas is now an employee of CUNA Mutual, currently on leave. Sometimes it just takes a personal connection to get behind a cause, and I consider Thomas Heyden a good friend so I chose to support this cause by riding in his honor.  

I believe that no matter what one’s political persuasion, we all agree that support for those who are in the military and need help is a non-partisan sentiment. I want to throw weight behind issues that are not divisive –  it seems there is so much negative out there it is good to support positive initiatives.

I’m proud of the chapter for organizing this event, and part of a movement that works together to help others.  

To register for the ride, please click here.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the ride, please click here.  


Weather Looks Nice for the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour

March 15, 2010

Early peek at the forecast for Saturday looks great – sunny skies, with temperatures warming from the 40s at the start of the ride to the upper 60s during the afternoon. That’s great news for the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour!

There’s still time to register for the ride, and most certainly still time to donate!

See you in Lewisville on Saturday! 



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