BRIDGETON, Mo. (10/24/11)--Hubert Hoosman Jr., president/CEO of Vantage CU, Bridgetown, Mo., flew to Washington, D.C., last weekend for the official Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Dedication.
Some African-American Credit Union Coalition Board members were in Washington, D.C., last weekend for the official Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication. They include, from left, Lynette Smith, secretary; Melinda Edmunds, membership; Sheilah Montgomery, chairperson; Barbara Stephens; and Vantage CU CEO Hubert Hoosman. (Photo provided by Vantage CU)
Hoosman was invited after challenging credit unions across the U.S. to donate funds for the memorial project. Credit unions answered the call, pledging more than $1 million to the project.
The official dedication paid tribute to King with words from noted civil rights leaders and King family members, as well as talented artists, musicians and poets. President Barack Obama delivered the official dedication address. The dedication originally scheduled for August, was postponed by Hurricane Irene.
"It was awe inspiring. It was spiritual--bringing tears to the eyes of everyone in the crowd," Hoosman said. "It truly was a once in a lifetime moment. There are not enough words to describe what it meant to be there in Washington as they officially dedicated the memorial. I'm sincerely humbled by the entire experience."
Hundreds attended the grand gala Saturday night, where Hoosman met the sculptor Master Lei Yixin. Credit Unions of America were acknowledged at the reception, in part through Hoosman's tireless efforts on behalf of the cause. Thousands more from around the world attended the formal dedication ceremony Sunday, where dignitaries include civil rights leaders Andrew Young and Jessie Jackson, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) and poet Nikki Giovanni.
St. Louis civil rights leader Dick Gregory and others presided.
"It was such a dynamic event, filled with inspiring individuals," Hoosman said. "All of the presenters had a singular focus on the future. You left knowing that the quest for civil rights and equality for all individuals will never die out."