May 28th

We All Have the Opportunity to Make a Difference: Cornerstone Credit Union League Honors CU Leaders for their Service

Tim Haegelin, Hall of Fame award. Cornerstone Credit Union League honored Tim Haegelin, retired CEO of Generations FCU in San Antonio, Texas, with a Hall of Fame award. This prestigious award recognizes credit union leaders who have made tremendous efforts to support the growth, development, and success of the movement, as well as the communities in which they serve.

Haegelin joined Generations FCU in 1980 as associate manager, earning the position of CEO in 1984. During his 28-year CEO career with the credit union, Generations FCU expanded from a credit union with one location, $37 million in assets, and serving 14,000 members to 14 locations, servings 49,000 members, and more than $400 million in assets.

Leveraging partnerships, the credit union under Haegelin’s leadership was able to open co-located branches with the City of San Antonio (airport), Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, and H-E-B Grocery Stores. Haegelin is credited with launching one of the first high-tech, high-touch branches in the city. Generations FCU was also the first credit union in Texas to use the biometric safe deposit vault in an attendantfree environment.

Throughout his career, Haegelin was involved in numerous credit union organizations, including the Texas Credit Union League (now Cornerstone Credit Union League), the Texas Credit Union Foundation (now Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation), the Filene Research Institute, the Austin Chapter of Credit Unions, and Town North Bank. He is also one of the co-founders of the Credit Unions for Kids initiative, and remains a staunch advocate.

Haegelin is also deeply committed to his community, lending his knowledge and expertise to the San Antonio Retail Merchants Association, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Cattleman Square Association, the San Antonio Youth Center, the San Antonio Chapter Boy Scouts of America, the North Austin Lions Club, and others. It is Haegelin’s hope that his commitment, dedication and successes will inspire others.

“Serving in the credit union movement has been an absolute privilege, and while I humbly appreciate the recognition, that isn’t what motivates me,” says Haegelin. “Knowing that I have played a small role in the progress and prosperity of credit unions, families and communities is truly the fruit of my labor.”

“We all have the opportunity to make a difference in the movement, in the lives of our members, and in our communities. Find your passion, and commit to giving it everything you’ve got,” he continued.

Other credit union leaders recognized for their contributions to the movement include:

Mark Kelly, Professional of the Year. Kelly is president and CEO of Oklahoma Employees FCU, and has been with the credit union since 1981. In addition to serving the members of his credit union, Kelly is active in his local chapter and was a Boomer Sooner Chapter officer for many years. He is a founding member of the Oklahoma Credit Union Service Center and currently serves on its board of directors. He was a director on the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma’s board of directors and currently serves on the Oklahoma Credit Union Political Action Committee. He’s also been a board member for the Oklahoma Consumer Credit Commission and the Oklahoma State Credit Union. Currently, Kelly serves on the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Oklahoma Government Affairs sub-committee.

Additionally, Kelly serves as a board member of the Oklahoma All Sports Association; is a Credit Union for Kids advocate, helping to raise more than $2 million for children who are ill; is an Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon water stop host; and serves on the board of directors for the Meinders School of Business.

Mike Patterson, executive director with Oklahoma Department of Transportation and a 31-year credit union volunteer, says Kelly embodies the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.”

“He is a driving force in all things credit union at the local, state and national level,” says Patterson. “He is a person who leads by example. He mentors his staff and has created a dynamic team that I’m confident will contribute to the future growth of Oklahoma Employees FCU.”

Brian Gebard, senior vice president with Oklahoma Employees CU, says Kelly has been a true mentor to him. Gebard says he first met Kelly when he was in college. The roof on his fraternity house had fallen in. Herman Meinders, a generous donor, agreed to bail them out on the condition that Kelly would oversee the construction.

“Not only did Mark oversee our construction, he also helped us with some philanthropy projects,” recalls Gebard.

Gebard later went to work for Kelly. And when Gebard bought his first house, a fixer-upper, Kelly didn’t hesitate to pick up a hammer and help.

“He offered his help in a way that made me feel totally comfortable accepting it. He sweated on my behalf for more than eight hours and even seemed to enjoy it,” remembers Gebard. “Mark takes the time to help others and to get to know them. In my opinion, his wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment have permeated our organization and made an indelible imprint on me and many others,” added Gebard.

Carol Gaylord, Achiever of the Year. Gaylord was the third employee at City of Galveston FCU in 1982. She was hired on as a bookkeeper at the credit union, which had $3 million in assets. Within a few short years, she proved herself a competent and capable employee and was promoted to office operations supervisor in 1985. By 2006, she had earned the position of president and CEO of the credit union that is now known as Coastal Community FCU.

Gaylord says one of her first tasks as the new CEO was to create a disaster recovery plan.

“We are located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, so having a disaster recovery plan was critical. Within the first year, I created the plan, initiated shared branching and check 21, engaged a mobile facility, shipped our main frame to a secure location, and opened a mainland branch.”

The preparation paid off, because in September 2008, Hurricane Ike hit and caused massive destruction in Southeast Texas. The credit union’s main branch was destroyed, but they were still open for business.

“With police escorts, tellers, cash drawers, laptops and wireless internet, we opened a satellite branch in the Emergency Operation Center at the San Luis Hotel. We were the only fully functional financial institution serving the post-Ike community of Galveston Island, regardless of membership,” notes Gaylord.

Ike’s devastation left the island’s homeless both hopeless and helpless. Gaylord went into action.

“I decided feeding the homeless population would be a priority,” recalls Gaylord. “Thanks to my husband, we started what is now known as the Coastal Community Garden. The garden soon became a beacon of hope for a brighter tomorrow for a city that experienced near total devastation.”

In spite of Hurricane Ike and the economic recession, Coastal Community FCU has experienced tremendous growth. Under Gaylord’s leadership, the credit union’s assets have increased from $30 million to $49 million; loans have increased from $22 million to $36 million; and shares have increased 52 percent, from $28 million to $43 million.

Coastal Community FCU is a Cornerstone Credit Union League REAL Solutions credit union, and a Juntos Avanzamos [Together we Advance] credit union. The credit union also participates in the Internal Revenue Services’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Gaylord has served on the League’s education committee and currently serves on the political action committee (PAC). In 2013, the credit union initiated payroll deduction for PAC.

Kriston Crow, Volunteer of the Year. Crow has served as chairman of the board for Southwest 66 CU for several years now, and his visionary leadership has reportedly changed the culture of both the board and the credit union.

“Our board was in a state of disarray when Kris came to us, and he quickly served as a stabilizing influence in righting the ship,” recalls President and CEO Sean Cahill. “Just one year into his tenure, he was asked to take over as chairman. Not only has the credit union turned around since he’s been on the board, but it has flourished, achieving record growth and financial success in 2012 and then again in 2013.”

Crow is also credited with helping the credit union to earn the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Juntos Avanzamos (Together we Advance) Hispanic outreach designation, and he was the catalyst for bringing the first CUSO to West Texas.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) says Crow’s selfless service has positively impacted the lives of countless individuals of all ages in the city of Odessa and the greater Permian Basin.

“He sets a high standard and is an inspiring example of volunteerism for us all,” the congressman says.

Ronny Haynes, president and CEO of Southwest Heritage CU, says Crow is a living testament to the power of one member willing to help other members.

“Kris always displays a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition. He is a leader, not a follower,” notes Haynes. “At the time when our credit union needed a strong leader on the board, we were blessed with Kris Crow. Today our credit union is a stronger and better financial institution largely due to the time he gave us.”

Crow serves on the board of directors on Odessa Affordable Housing, Inc. to bring homes to low-income residents, and for several years he served on the Odessa Development Corporation helping bring businesses to the community and grow businesses that are currently there.

Odessa Mayor David R. Turner describes Crow as having a servant’s heart.

“I have known Kris for nearly 20 years, and during that period of time I have watched him voluntarily serve his community in various other aspects,” says Mayor Turner. “He has always been the kind of person to lend a hand to see organizations come to their full potential and has spent years and hours doing so.”

Award winners are selected by their peers who serve on Cornerstone’s Awards and Recognition Committee.

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