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Texas CUs lose friend in baseball great Killebrews death
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (5/20/11)--The death Wednesday of baseball legend Harmon Killebrew--whose total of 573 homeruns ranks 11th on the baseball career list--means that Texas credit unions have lost a friend, according to Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League. Killebrew went to bat for credit unions a couple of years ago after Hurricane Ike ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast, Ensweiler wrote in the league newsletter, LoneStar Leaguer (May 19). Ensweiler had visited the stricken area after the storm to survey damage to credit unions. He was so moved by credit union employees who went to work every day to help members devastated by the hurricane while suffering losses themselves, that he wrote a memo to himself "so I would never forget the bravery and selflessness of those credit union employees." He shared the memo via e-mail with friends, including Killebrew, who hit at least 40 homes eight times for the Senators and the Minnesota Twins during his career (The New York Times May 19). Killebrew called him and left a message: "What can I do to help?" Ensweiler asked him to assist in a golf charity event to benefit credit union employees who were left homeless or affected by the hurricane, and Killebrew agreed. "He then offered the organization he uses to coordinate his charity golf events to help our Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) staff set up the tournament. Additionally, he would bring celebrities--current and former baseball players--to help add luster to the event," said Ensweiler. After six weeks of planning, Killebrew arrived at the Cowboys Golf Club and brought with him among others, Ozzie Smith, Tim Worrell, Frank Quilici, Frank Kostrow, Charlie Pride, Eddie Bonine and several Rangers, including Kevin Millwood, Cameron Loe and Jim Sundberg. "The event was all we could hope for," wrote Ensweiler. "Because of Harmon's stature with the players, they stayed until the end of all activities, posed for pictures, signed balls and other memorabilia, mingled and talked baseball, all of which made the event very special for those that participated." The event netted $60,000 for TCUF, all of which went to storm-affected employees of credit unions, he said, adding, "I have lost a good friend, and so did the credit unions of Texas."

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