Day One: A Brief Update …

June 17, 2010 by

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Day One of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour is complete and the team is resting at the RV camp after a grueling 83 miles on the bike.

More details about a very eventful (and very wonderful) day one a little later this evening. Rest Little Guy Rest!


A Very Special Guest – A Wonderful Announcement

June 16, 2010 by

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 by

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.


The Final Countdown Is on … We Need Your Help!!!

May 27, 2010 by

In less than a month, four members of Team Little Guy will hop on their bikes and embark on a remarkable (and most likely quite hot) journey through eastern NC. John Radebaugh, Eric Gelly, Ed Agnoli and David “Bubba” Gelly will ride approximately 200 miles over three days, from June 17th – 19th.

Riders from Hope for the Warriors will most likely join in for the winding journey that starts from Fayetteville and heads to Goldsboro, and then jogs south to Jacksonville. John Slack and Jeff Hardin will provide rider support from a rented (and comfortably air-conditioned) RV.

The purpose of the trip is to pass through five major military installations in NC: Fort Bragg, Pope AFB, Seymour-Johnson AFB, Cherry Point MCAS and then Camp Lejeune, where a check representing the money donated by credit unions to Hope for the Warriors will be left behind.

That’s where you come in!

Team Little Guy will be accepting donations from your credit union, as well as individual gifts in support of this wonderful cause. We’re about halfway home to our goal of $100,000 to benefit the Warriors Hope & Care Center, which will open at Camp Lejeune next year.

If your credit union has not already made a contribution, please download the sponsor form. We’ll be accepting checks now through the time of the Annual Meeting in Pinehurst — June 13-16. We’d love to add your credit union to the list of sponsors who are supporting wounded warriors and their families!

To make a secure individual contribution using a major credit card, please click here.


Bike Tour Recap: An Attitude of Gratitude!

March 23, 2010 by

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 by

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 by
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 by

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! 


Hello from Romania

March 11, 2010 by

I’ve been in Romania this week working with the WOCCU and the credit unions of Romania. It’s been hard to keep up with my exercise and ride prep so I have adopted a new training strategy which involves vino. I figured if you lift a 10 oz glass of wine a lot your bicep gets bigger thus helping my biking skills. I also looked around and recruited a Romanian TLG. He’s ready to go and reviewed our team profile and thought that Bubba would be an equal partner to ride with. I’m proud of the team for raising so much money!


Who’s Riding with TLG

March 11, 2010 by

We have been talking a lot about the bike tour the Northwest Chapter of Credit Unions is having on March 20th.  The ride has 27 people registered as of today.  The following 22 folks are riding with Team Little Guy:

Rider — Credit Union Connection

Bubba Gelly — Member Hanes Brands Credit Union

John Slack — Carolinas CU Foundation

Randy Coleman — CUNA Mutual Group

Frankie “D” DeDonato — PFP

Jack Braswell — Members Credit Union

Susan Dabbs — Members CU (Jack’s wife)

Jeff Jones — Freedom Federal Credit Union

John Radebaugh — NCCUL

John Radebaugh Jr. — John’s son, Member of SECU

Josh Chavez — Choice Community CU a division of Self Help CU

Rob Semar — Members Credit Union

Jeff Hardin — NCCUL

Shannon Parker — Advanced Fraud Solutions

Lawrence Reaves — Advanced Fraud Solutions

David Brehmer — First Carolina Corporate Credit Union

Madison Heyden — Thomas Heyden’s daughter

Katie Gray Altman — Thomas Heyden’s daughter’s friend

John Rubin — David Brehmer’s friend

John P. McGrail — Lion’s Share Federal Credit Union

Renee Mier — NCCUL

Robin Kolvek — CUNA Mutual Group

Eric Gelly — NCCUL

It is awesome to see this many TLG riders.  This will be the longest ride many of these people have ever attempted.   Frankie D and John McGrail have been training like mad men.  Jack and Susan have scouted the hilly course.  Not only have these folks dusted off their bikes and put in hours of training, they also have done an amazing job raising money for Hope for the Warriors!!  Frankie D, Bubba and John Radebaugh have all raised more than $1000 each.

I can’t express how proud I will be to pull on my Team Little Guy jersey and ride with all of these great people on March 20th.  Many of you know these riders.  Please take the time to send them some words of encouragement and thanks for their commitment to take part in this event.

I also need to thank all the folks at the Northwest Chapter who have worked hard to put this ride together.  One individual has worked his butt off on this project…John Spivey from Allegacy Federal Credit Union.  Thanks for all your efforts John!!

Many of you have made personal donations to this event…thank you!!  If you haven’t made a donation yet… please do!!

We are close to our goal of $10,000 for this event.  It is a great sense of accomplishment to finish a ride of this length.  It would be even more rewarding for each of us if we reach our fundraising goal.  Please help us reach it!

Ride Little Guy Ride!!


Information about the ride:



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