Hurricane Ivan's Scary Nights Inside YourCU

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PENSACOLA, Fla. - (09/24/04) -- Armed with generators, flashlightsand pillows, dozens of credit union staff weathered last week'sHurricane Ivan inside their credit unions. During one of the 140mph wind gusts, Patty Wernicke, president of Escambia CountyEmployees CU, watched an eight-foot steel dumpster bouncing acrossher credit union's parking lot, as well as a couple of restaurantsigns. Chris Rutledge, president of Gulf Winds FCU, and severalstaff members who stayed at the credit union during Ivan, woke upto see the demolition of their new building, which was being builtin front of the present credit union--about $240,000 worth ofdamage. Many of the credit unions were just opening their doors forthe first time on Wednesday. Lack of power, water and staff madeconducting business difficult. Long lines at ATMs and drive thrusand busy lobbies were evidence of Ivan's destruction. Almost a weekafter the carnage, credit union employees said their travel time toand from work is taking up to three hours each way because oftraffic light outages and road damages. Sixty percent of both PenAir FCU's and Gulf Wind FCU's employees were still without powerand/or water as of Wednesday. At least one credit union, Santa RosaCounty FCU, remains on a generator. Central Credit Union ofFlorida's lobby remained closed so water damaged carpet could bereplaced. Many had abbreviated hours of business.

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