One of the privileges that we enjoy working in the credit union movement is to be part of a global community which reaches out in times of disaster to help each other regardless of borders.
We were worried as Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and brought back memories of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. We heard from our colleagues in the Houston area as they set aside other agendas and focused on helping their members recover from the damage to their homes and their work.
We were heartened as the Global Women’s Leadership Network issued a call and mobilized its network to appeal for resources through the National Credit Union Foundation to assist the credit unions affected in Houston. We had a message from our colleagues in Sri Lanka who remembered how US credit unions raised money to help rebuild the Sri Lanka credit unions after the 2004 Tsunami. They expressed their gratitude for our help then and wanted to let our Houston colleagues know that their thoughts were with the Houston credit unions and to offer a small token of support for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
On the tail of Harvey, Hurricane Irma brought one of the most devastating impacts to the Caribbean. Anguilla, Barbuda and Tortola experienced major destruction. The Bahamas, Cuba and St. Kitts and Nevis were also impacted.
There are more than 100,000 credit union members in Anguilla, Barbuda, Tortola and St. Kitts and Nevis. Our colleague, Ralph, from the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions travelled to the islands to assess the damage. Jim called from CUNA, “What can we do to help? We are ready to help out.” With the generosity and graciousness they always demonstrate, our colleagues in Ireland called to offer help to Caribbean credit unions in getting their members settled back into their homes.
Now we watch a third hurricane, Maria, hit the Caribbean again.
Thanks to all of you who have reached out to help. We will provide relief to support rebuilding efforts. It is through these difficult times that our global community comes together to show its strength and reach beyond borders to help those in need. It is part of what makes us proud to work in what is more than an industry - a movement of people helping people.
President & Chief Executive Officer
World Council of Credit Unions