As the nation mourns the loss of a civil rights giant, Congressman John Lewis, we are also reflecting on his prodigious life. Every day this week, we’ll share insight from some of our affiliated CEOs in Georgia who had the honor of meeting and working with Congressman Lewis.
As we remember the many contributions of the late Congressman John Lewis, credit unions may recall he was the honored recipient of the former Georgia Credit Union League’s Eloise Woods Distinguished Service Award in 2013, which is given to an individual who has worked to advance cooperative finance for the benefit of Georgia citizens. This award is a tribute to a true pioneer in cooperative finance.
When Congressman Lewis won the award seven years ago, it was because he embodies the same pioneer spirit as Woods who served on many local, state and national boards –including our state league, CUNA, the NCUF and CUES – often the first woman to hold those positions.
Just as credit unions have been the allies of working people, Congressman Lewis has been an ally of credit unions. He led the way with the Georgia delegation in supporting HR 1151 – the Credit Union Membership Access Act – providing the opportunity for credit unions to continue to help all consumers afford life! Congressman Lewis also co-sponsored legislation on Member Business Lending. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, he never failed to exhibit his support for credit unions. His support for retaining the credit union tax exemption is much appreciated by credit unions across the nation. He had strong ties to cooperative finance, helping establish the National Consumer Cooperative Bank and served as its Community Affairs Director. Among his many accolades, he has been honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives.
“In terms of kindness, compassion and courage, John Lewis set the bar. We’ll never know the bounds of his impact here in Georgia and throughout the country as he served tirelessly until his last day to create change and bring people together. John was a perennial friend to the credit union industry as he was ever the proponent for fairness and value for all his constituents. Our industry is forever grateful for his advocacy, and we will seek to honor all that he stood for in how we serve our members, our employees, and our community. John was a leadership giant, and I know his legacy will serve as a beacon of strength and hope in these times, and for generations to come. May he rest in peace.”
-David A. Preter, President/CEO – Georgia’s Own Credit Union