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Texas tornado destroys home of CU employee
MADISON, Wis. (4/5/12)--The home of at least one Texas credit union employee was destroyed by tornadoes that swept through the Dallas-Fort Worth area Tuesday. However, Texas credit unions appear to have escaped major damage.

One tornado destroyed the home of an employee of City CU in Dallas, and another employee was temporarily displaced when an apartment building was damaged, the Texas Credit Union League told News Now.

"It's devastating," Taunya Williams, City CU chief marketing officer, said of the employee's loss. Williams said the credit union is opening an account to accept donations for the employee. Other employees have offered to volunteer with clean up and other assistance.

CUNA Mutual Group's Credit Union Protection Claims unit contacted credit unions in the disaster area, and there were no reports of any major damages to credit unions, said Phil Tschudy, CUNA Mutual Group's media relations manager. A few credit union locations sustained some wind and hail damage to their facilities, but these were minor in relation to other damages in the affected areas.

A branch of Neighborhood CU received roof and window damage, Carolyn Jordan, senior vice president at the credit union, told News Now. The glass door of a community room was also blown out, Jordan said.

About 20 vehicles owned by employees of YOUR Community CU in Irving, Texas, suffered hail damage, according to Rick Stokes, assistant vice president of marketing at the credit union. Although the area wasn't hit by tornadoes, storms did bring golf ball-sized hail, which broke windshields and dented vehicles, Stokes said.

The YOUR Community CU branch in Irvine does not appear to have been damaged, Stokes said. "We seem to have been right on the edge of the tornadic activity," Stokes said. "A block away there was no hail."

The Texas league told News Now it had been in contact with member credit unions throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The area was hit by an estimated 18 tornadoes, according to PropertyCasualty360.com.

TCUL spokesperson Linda Webb-Manon said she expects to hear from credit unions with members who were affected by the tornadoes. The American Red Cross estimates 650 homes were damaged in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Tuesday.  

"It usually takes a couple days to get reports credit unions, but we expect more people will need some help," Webb-Manon said. "The tornadoes hit a heavily populated area, and we know there were extensive damages to some residential areas."

Texas Credit Union Foundation said it is ready to implement phase one emergency grants to any credit union employees affected by the tornadoes (Lone Star Leaguer April 4).

Phase one emergency grants are provided to credit union employees to assist with immediate disaster relief needs, such as out of pocket costs that may result from being evacuated. The grants are up to $500 per credit union employee. The grants are provided to help stabilize credit union employees' individual situations so they can return to work.

Although her credit union escaped damaged, Stacey McDonald, CEO of Corner Stone CU, in Lancaster—the hardest hit area, according to USA Today--saw one of the tornadoes first hand about a mile from her credit union as she stood outside the branch.

"We are just lucky we didn't get any damage," McDonald said. "The area just up the street did."

McDonald directed about 12 employees and three members--including her pregnant daughter--into the credit union's restrooms until the storms passed.

One employee was frantic because she heard the tornado was headed directly for her neighborhood, McDonald recalled. "But somebody called to tell her that it bounded over the neighborhood just like a frog," McDonald said.

The American Red Cross estimated that about 300 Lancaster homes were damaged.

"As a financial institution, we will do whatever we can to help," she said. "Right now I feel like someone was looking out for us."
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