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Ohio CUs help homeless viral video star
COLUMBUS, Ohio (1/6/11)--In a story that received national media coverage, a Columbus, Ohio-area homeless man has gone from down on his luck, to the latest viral sensation, to a likely spokesperson for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Credit Union League. Ted Williams, who was featured on The Columbus Dispatch website in a video story titled “Golden Homeless Voice,” claims to be “an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times,” according to the sign he uses to panhandle. (Use the link to access the video.) Nicole Carey, marketing manager for BMI Federal CU in Dublin, Ohio, set in motion events to give Williams his second chance. “I heard the story on a local radio station and thought there might be some way credit unions can help,” Carey said. “He has the talent, and he appears driven to return to his voiceover roots.” Carey contacted the Ohio Credit Union League, who in turn contacted Central Ohio Chapter President Amanda Thomas, marketing and business development manager for Members First CU in Columbus, to see if any credit union opportunities existed for Williams. The chapter board agreed he would serve well as the vocal talent for their upcoming video marketing campaign. Wednesday morning, live on Columbus’ WNCI-97.9, Thomas offered Williams up to $10,000 in voiceover work. The work is contingent on a background check. Meanwhile, the video of Williams has appeared on social media outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit.com and started trending on Twitter. Mainstream media such as CNN, CBS, ABC, Inside Edition, and local Columbus television affiliates pursued Williams’ story. Williams appeared on the CBS Early Show Wednesday. The Central Ohio Chapter is also working on securing funds to help subsidize everyday needs for Williams, including an apartment, transportation and groceries. The chapter also has offered to provide Williams with financial counseling services. Patrick Harris, director of media relations for the Ohio Credit Union League, said that although everything is still in progress it appears that Williams’ life has indeed changed within a matter of hours. “In these depressing economic times, it’s nice to see somebody turn his life around,” Harris said. “I’m glad credit unions could be a part of that.”
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