CHARLOTTE, N.C. (9/7/12)--Phillip Kridel has been hitting the streets of Charlotte before 3:30 a.m. each day this week to reach a job he doesn't even have to do. The credit union director has rolled up his sleeves as a Democratic National Convention volunteer, working to sort and assign credentials--the coveted passes that make the difference between getting in or being locked out of the convention events.
"We understand how important policy is to our future--as an individual credit union and as a movement," Kridel told News Now early this week. He said his long-term experience in his past as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service--35 years as a city letter carrier--opened his eyes to the importance of being aware of the policy issues that surround one's work life. He has carried that perspective forward into his credit union life.
Kridel has served as a voter registration volunteer in the past so as the convention volunteer opportunity came open in his home base of Charlotte, he stepped forward to get involved. He said more people offered to volunteer than there were spots to fill, despite the fact that the DNC had, he said, some 10,000 volunteer positions to fill.
At first he filled a couple of shifts at the credentials office, but since July 16 he has been serving five days a week and some weekend days for four- to five-hour shifts verifying and organizing and supervising delivery of credentials.
So, why do it, News Now asked. What's the personal benefit or the professional benefit to political volunteerism?
"For myself, I see it as making my own, very small contribution to the re-election of Barack Obama, which is important to me, personally, to my family, and to our future.
"For credit unions? The more we can tell our story to everybody--and I talk to everyone I can about credit unions, without making them crazy--the more people know about credit unions, the more people understand how important they are in the financial marketplace," Kridel explained.
He said as a convention volunteer he is working alongside people who "work for a living and need the best possible rates on loans and savings, and need not to be nickel-and-dimed" on financial services--and these are people, he says, who need to know about credit unions.
His mission, he adds, is particularly important here in Charlotte, where credit unions operate in the shadow of the Bank of America headquarters here.