One Volunteer Shoots For The Stars

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When JSC FCU wants something done right, they ask Peggy Zahler. Sure, she's busy as a CPA, a licensed private and commercial pilot and a volunteer for numerous community and professional organizations.

Still, she has found time-for 23 years running-to do whatever her credit union has asked, and then some.

"An old adage states that when you want a job done right, you ask the busiest person you know and he or she will get the task accomplished," said Becky Day, Marketing Coordinator at the $788-million JSC FCU. "At JSC Federal Credit Union, the right person to ask is volunteer Peggy A. Zahler."

For all of her efforts that have included serving on various committees at JSC FCU, the Texas Credit Union League, NAFCU and CUNA, Zahler has been chosen as NAFCU's Volunteer of the Year at a CU with more than $150 million in assets. She will join other winners honored during NAFCU's 39th Annual Conference and Exhibition, July 12-15, in Toronto, Canada.

"This is a dream come true," Zahler told The Credit Union Journal. "I think we all aspire to be respected by our peers, and this award is so much more than I would have ever thought to be within my reach."

Zahler added that she is proud of to be part of any recognition that honors any part of JSC FCU. "I do not consider personal accomplishment as particularly important," she said. "I do, however, take great pride in what we in the credit union community have been able to accomplish. Our ability to reach out and touch the lives of so many members across the demographic/economic spectrum is truly a blessing."

In addition to her present position as secretary of JSC's board, Zahler serves as a legislative advocate with TCUL's Force Fund and an active participant in its Hike the Hill activities. In fact, Day said, Zahler has attended 12 Hike the Hills in Washington.

"She continually strives to soar to new heights of personal and professional achievement through her leadership roles in JSC Federal Credit Union, the community, and the rapidly changing political arena for which she is highly qualified, having earned a Master of Science degree in political science in 1997," Day said.

Zahler started her volunteerism with JSC in 1980 when she joined the supervisory committee. Since then, she has served as the CU's nominating committee chairman, and political liaison committee chairman. She has held a board seat since 1984.

"I have always been of the belief that a person needs to choose a few paths in life that might provide fulfillment and excitement," she said. "I decided to explore this path into the credit union community and have never regretted a moment."

Day said that Zahler has also participated in the TCUL Leadership Conferences and attended the NAFCU Congressional Caucus as NAFCU Region IV Committee representative.

"Peggy shares the information gleaned from the meetings with the board of directors and credit union members so they are not only well informed, but able to take action on items for the benefit of existing members as well as potential clients in the community." Day said Zahler is frequently in contact with elected officials to further the industry's grass roots efforts.

"As a credit union member herself for 28 years, she has a firm understanding of the benefits of credit union membership as well as the responsibilities credit unions have to their members and to the communities that they serve," Day said. "This first-hand knowledge, combined with her political savvy, enables Peggy to open doors that may otherwise remain closed."

Credit union leaders have been impressed with Zahler's initiative to capitalize on every professional development opportunity that will benefit JSC Federal Credit Union, her community and other organizations that she serves. Among her accomplishments:

* Zahler was honored with the prestigious Roy F. Bergengren Award after successfully completing the 24 modules of the Volunteer Achievement Program.

* She received the VAP Technology Certificate after completing all three courses and has completed the requirements toward the VAP Leadership Certificate.

* During 2005, Zahler attended Federal Reserve Training, the NAFCU Annual Conference, the JSC Federal Credit Union Annual Meeting and the JSC FCU strategic planning meeting.

"My philosophy has always been that life is one continuing learning experience," Zahler said. "To not take advantage of the many educational opportunities offered and readily available to us seems incredibly dumb. I truly believe I owe the JSC FCU membership the best informed judgment possible, and one way to meet that goal is by taking advantage of educational opportunities."

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