Community Service

Joplin Tornado Damages Four CUs

National CU Foundation activates CUAid to help affected CUs.

May 23, 2011
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The massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., killing at least 89 people and leveling the town’s business district, also damaged four credit union branches, the Missouri Credit Union Association reports.

The four Missouri credit unions with branches in Joplin—District 7 Highway Credit Union, Great Plains Federal Credit Union, Joplin Metro Credit Union, and Postal Federal Community Credit Union—experienced various levels of damage.

Postal Federal Community’s Joplin branch suffered severe damage, and is closed. The facility has no power, limited access, and blown-out windows, says CEO Steve Pierson. It’s no clear when the credit union will reopen.

Joplin Metro President Cindy Atteberry lost her home to the storm. The credit union is closed with minor damage.

Great Plains Federal is instructing employees to stay home, says Ken Martin, CEO. The Missouri National Guard closed the area to traffic while searches for storm victims.

Offices of District 7 Highway had minimal damage, but are without power or telephone.

Missouri Credit Union Association President Michael Beall asked the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to activate CUAid, the national fundraising network for credit union employees and members. Within hours, the fund recorded $26,000 in donations.

Beall also contacted the Missouri Division of Credit Unions to determine next steps for helping the affected credit unions. The regulator will assemble a team once the National Guard allows access to the affected areas.

“It’s heartbreaking to see such devastation,” Beall says. “With nearly 40,000 members in the area represented by four credit unions, we know the need for support from the movement will be great.”

“We urge credit union employees, volunteers, and members to use as a donation channel to help credit union people in need,” says NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian.

As donations are posted through, NCUF will coordinate with the Missouri Credit Union Charitable Foundation to distribute money efficiently to credit union employees and members in the affected areas.

Click here to make a donation.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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