Calif. League Recognizes 'Unsung Heroes'

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Elizabeth Pettitt, Damon E. Roemer, Don Sheets, and Robert Wayne are the first-ever recipients of the California Credit Union League's Historical Preservation Committee's new "Unsung Heroes" award, designed to honor deserving individuals with at least 20 years of service who may not be known outside of their credit union or chapter sphere of influence.

"These are true unsung heroes who have contributed so much to the credit union movement over the years but who, for one reason or another, have not received other awards," said Committee Chairperson Sue Longson, CEO of SONEPCO Federal Credit Union in Las Vegas. Elizabeth Pettitt retired in 1980 from the Riverside Employees CU (now called Raincross CU) but continued serving as a volunteer for the California league. Damon E. Roemer retired in 1971 as CEO of the Los Angeles County Employees No. 11 FCU (now First City CU) and has served the CU movement in one form or another-including a stint as a senior examiner with the precursor to NCUA, the Bureau of Federal Credit, helping to create the supervisory agency. Don Sheets was a founder and board member of Pt. Mugu FCU (now Pacific Oaks Federal Credit Union) and was a tireless advocate for the CU movement prior to his death in 2000. Robert Wayne initially ran the Merced School Employees FCU out of a shoebox in his garage apartment on a part-time basis but grew the credit union into an institution requiring a full-time CEO, at which point Wayne switched from teaching junior high to being a credit union CEO, a positio he held for 40 years before retiring in 1993.

The league's Historical Preservation Committee received nominations from individuals, chapters, and other league-affiliated organizations, both in California and Nevada. The awards were presented at local or regional events such as chapter meetings or credit union annual meetings. Honorees received framed certificates and will have their names added to a permanent plaque in the Richard M. Johnson Training Center at the league's headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga.

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