November 13, 2019
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Maine Credit Union League presents annual awards to five individuals

Community Author: Jon Paradise
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PORTLAND — As part of its recent 80th annual meeting and convention held in Portland, the Maine Credit Union League presented its annual awards to five individuals who, combined, have nearly 125 years of experience being involved with Maine’s credit unions. Two of this year’s winners have ties to the northern Penobscot County region.

Alexander Ferguson Award for Outstanding CU Volunteer was awarded to Theresa Coffin, board member at Katahdin Federal Credit Union, with offices in Millinocket and Island Falls. Coffin, who has served on the board since 1992, was recognized for her strong “involvement and participation on behalf of the credit union and its members.”  Tina Jamo, President/CEO of Katahdin FCU, said, “Theresa is a great volunteer, she is always ready and willing to help and her enthusiasm is contagious.”  Upon receiving the Award, Coffin said, “I love being part of the credit union and to be honored in this way makes me very happy and proud.”

James M. Gratto Award for Outstanding Credit Union CEO was awarded to Dan Byron, president/CEO of Eastmill FCU, with locations in East Millinocket and Patten.  Carol LeVasseur, board secretary at Eastmill FCU, praised Byron, who has served as the CU’s leader since 1991, as “someone who goes above and beyond every day. It’s just who he is.”  Byron thanked the board for nominating him but said that this award “should be shared by my entire staff who do so much to help me and the credit union.”

Nearly 800 credit union representatives and guests attended this year’s convention held in May in Portland.  Ninety-three percent of the state’s credit unions were represented at the convention, the highest percentage in nearly two decades.

“This year’s theme for our Convention was ‘Creating Connections’, and the recipients of all of our awards exemplify that, whether it’s creating connections within their credit union, in their community or on behalf of all CUs, strong connections are a crucial part of the success of credit unions,” explained Todd Mason, President/CEOof the Maine Credit Union League.

The other 2018 award recipients were:

Jeannette G. Morin Award for Outstanding CU Employee was given to Christine Allen, vice president of Financial Services at Central Maine FCU of Lewiston and Auburn. Allen was praised by President/CEO Vicki Stuart as “someone who is always willing to step up and do whatever it takes to help.  Her dedication to our members is second to none.  From helping our members to volunteering in the community, Christine is an asset to all.”  Allen, who was completely surprised by the Award, said, “I love what I do and just want to say thank-you for this honor.”

Diane L. Oceretko ‘People Helping People’ Award was given to Betsy Sibley, vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Community CU.  Sibley was noted as someone who “lives” to help others. Her President/CEO Jen Hogan remarked, “Betsy is a tireless volunteer who is devoted to giving her time not only on behalf of the credit union but on so many other causes, too.  I don’t know how she finds the time to do all that she does, but our community is much better for Betsy being part of it.”  Sibley said she her work in her family’s general store “instilled a sense of community in me.  Helping people is part of who I am, and I appreciate the credit union’s willingness to let me do that in many ways.”

League President’s Award was given to Rick Lachance, president/CEO of Connected CU. Lachance, who stepped down after serving on the Maine Credit Union League’s Board for the past 13 years, including the past two as chairman, was honored for “being the consummate professional with a steady and thoughtful approach to leadership.”  Todd Mason, President/CEO of the Maine CU League, thanked Lachance for his service and leadership. “Rick has been a mentor and a friend, who provided invaluable assistance during my transition this past year.”  Lachance said the “opportunity to serve on the League Board happened by chance but it has been an honor and a wonderful experience.”

The Maine CU League’s Annual Awards have been presented annually since 1973.

“These awards are an opportunity to honor just a few on the individuals whose contributions to their own CU, the System and the communities in which they serve, are significant,” added Mason.

About the Maine Credit Union League
Formed in 1938, the Maine Credit Union League is the State Trade Association for Maine’s 55credit unions and nearly 700,000members, committed to helping credit unions succeed and improve the financial lives of their members.  For more information, visit www.mainecul.org.