Team Little Guy Goes The Distance For The Carolinas CU Foundation

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GREENSBORO, N.C.-Credit unions in this state have put biking and running shorts on the "Little Guy" who is the updated symbol for credit unions and used him to help raise money.

The Little Guy, whom CUNA unveiled to replace the long-time "Little Man Under the Umbrella" symbol, is "Team Little Guy" in North Carolina. The team is a group of CU bikers and runners who have raised more than $400,000 for charity. The team is made up of credit union and league staff and their families, CU members, as well as representatives from companies that work with CUs. Over the last three years Team Little Guy has pedaled and run more than 1,000 miles, with some events over 200 miles long.

John Radebaugh, NCCL president and a member of Team Little Guy, recalled one particularly tough 200-mile plus running event that wound through the mountains of North Carolina. "That run started in Virginia, ended in North Carolina, and threw in elevation changes that totaled 25,000 feet. We had 12 runners on the team, and each ran different legs of the race. But it was still very difficult. We ran through the night on dirt roads, sometimes with dogs chasing us."

It's easier, though, to tackle an event and put up with bumps in the road when you are raising money for charity, offered Radebaugh, who said Team Little Guy has been part of 10 different fundraising events. The money goes to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, a cooperative charitable organization representing CUs of North and South Carolina.

Hitting the road on foot or on a bike does more than raise money, Radebaugh said, it boosts awareness of credit unions. The team has received coverage from local radio and newspapers, and more importantly, gets a lot of questions from those in and around a race. "The name of the team is unique, so people ask us what the name is about," Radebaugh explained. "That gives us the chance to talk about credit unions, and how they look out for the little guy."

Team Little Guy has a core of runners and riders that live in North Carolina, but makeup of the team changes based on the type of the event and the location. Eric Gelly EVP and COO of the league, and a Team Little Guy member, said the team allows any person affiliated with credit unions, in any state, to participate. "We've had people from CUNA Mutual and U.S. Central all running under the Team Little Guy banner."

It's just a lot of fun, acknowledged Gelly, who admitted to having a chuckle at the boss's expense during the last bike ride. Both Radebaugh and Gelly completed a 234-mile ride that touched all of the military bases in the area. At the end, the team presented Hope for the Warriors a check for $161,000. "We were riding in a group when a dog comes after us," recalled Gelly. "All I could do was laugh because he went after John, and John had a tough time getting away because he was eating a Power Bar. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my bike."

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