The World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) has named seven exceptional individuals and one organization as the recipients of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), considered the highest honor bestowed by WOCCU. DSAs are presented to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service including personal commitment to international credit union development; record of technical service; ongoing demonstration of institutional development; ability to locate and mobilize resources to establish strong credit union movements; and demonstration of poverty alleviation.
The 2003 honorees are:
* Henry Cruz (USA). Cruz directed the first international credit union development projects launched with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Peace Corps, and helped organize and run the CUNA Latin American Regional Office in Panama and the Global Projects Office in Washington, D.C.
* Joseph Cugini (USA). A past WOCCU chairman, Cugini reshaped the board pushing for international representation. Visiting 27 countries, Cugini strived for better understanding among movements and promoted the cooperative concept to government officials.
* Dennis Cutter (USA). Immediate past WOCCU chairman. During his chairmanship, World Council incorporated the WOCCU Services Group, established the WOCCU Rating Agency in Guatemala, and formalized a partnership between Washington and the Philippines.
* John Nicholson (Canada). Nicholson played a leadership role in Canada at the local, provincial and national levels of the credit union system.
* Alan Parry (Australia). A past WOCCU chairman, Parry built bridges to other financial cooperative organizations, seeking more effective collaboration.
* Rev. James Oswald Thorbourne (Jamaica). Part of the regional and international movement since the 1940s, Thorbourne founded several Jamaican credit unions, served as board president of the Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League and was instrumental in forming the Cooperative College Program, providing a career path for credit union staff.
* Herb Wegner (USA, posthumous). Director of CUNA's Latin American Regional Office in Panama and later CEO of CUNA. During his tenure, Wegner led CUNA and credit unions to introduce a variety of services and grew membership from 22 million to 41 million between 1971-78.
* U.S. Peace Corps (USA). The connection between the Peace Corps and credit unions goes back to the 1960s when the organization provided the impetus for credit union development projects.