FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/29/08)--Despite seeing widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Ike on his tour of Southeast Texas Thursday, Dick Ensweiler, CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, discovered that morale was high among credit union employees affected by Ike. Roads filled with debris, collapsed roofs sitting on building foundations, and personal belongings scattered on lawns were part of the destruction Ensweiler saw (LoneStar Leaguer
Sept. 26). Ensweiler visited branches of several credit unions that sustained severe destruction from Hurricane Ike. They included:
* Houston Police FCU; * Firestone Community FCU, Orange; * Five Point FCU, Nederland; and * DuPont Goodrich FCU, Nederland.
Gulf CU, Groves, was lucky enough to avoid damage from Hurricane Ike, but some employees were not as fortunate. Several, such as compliance officer Stephine Adams, lost their homes. Roiling waters swept all her possessions out of her home and made it uninhabitable. The silver lining is that five horses she left behind are OK. She and her family waded through knee-deep water to lead them to safety. Adams said she is taking things “one day at a time.” This also was the sentiment of Evan Gonzalez, a teller with Five Point FCU, and Scott Lawson of Firestone Community FCU, who live in Bridge City and lost their homes. The community of 3,500 homes was so devastated by Hurricane Ike that fewer than 20 homes are inhabitable. Shanna Hubert, an employee of Five Points CU, also lost her home. Her branch is in ruin and she now works in a mobile unit in a parking lot near a busy street. “It’s definitely hard, but you can’t let it get you down,” she told the league. “You’ve got to keep going--our members are depending on us.” Frontline staff of Houston Police FCU are working in mobile units set up in the parking lot of the credit union’s main office, which became submerged in water when its roof was torn off by high winds. Mildew fills the air inside the damaged building. Employee morale was high despite having to work in closed quarters, Ensweiler found. Executive assistant Mitzy Plumb is living in a recreational vehicle parked in her driveway because her house was smashed by fallen mature trees. She said her daily duties at the credit union bring her joy. “We have very special people serving in this movement,” Ensweiler said. “Despite their personal tragedies, they go to work every day with a sincere desire to serve their members.” Ensweiler planned to continue his tour last Friday, visiting Coastal Community CU, Galveston; JSC FCU’s Galveston Branch; Amoco FCU, Texas City; and Beacon FCU, LaPorte.