Vermillion FCU Launches Community Appreciation Project
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist

Staff at Vermillion FCU recently launched a community appreciation project that has proven to be a great success, especially for their social media outreach. It all began when Janet Mount, CEO, took notice of the many businesses that had stayed open, despite increasingly difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was so grateful for those that stayed open; without them, it would have been so much harder to get through this,” she shared.


The situation hit especially close to home for Janet, as her father is in assisted living in the town of Vermillion. While the center is on total lockdown, with no one allowed in or out, her appreciation for the caretakers grew, as she understood that not only did the staff have to deal with worries about their own families, but were also trying to ease the stress of those who couldn’t see their families. 


A discussion began among the staff at Vermillion FCU, and it soon became obvious that there were many deserving people who were going above and beyond. For example, the Vermillion Police Department worked 7 days straight for 12 hours per day, rotating every other week off, to assure there was a separation of officers to prevent the spread of COVID. The local fire department, made entirely of volunteers, would schedule drive-bys at the homes of children to celebrate birthdays. The grocery store workers kept working, along with convenience stores and gas stations, and of course, the many medical personnel who continued to work under very stressful conditions.


With ongoing discussion between staff and the credit union’s board of directors, there were many ideas floating around about how to express their appreciation, until someone suggested that the decisions should not be made by credit union employees alone. “In the end, we did what we almost always do when we need help in situations like this – we asked our members for input. After all, it is their credit union,” Janet explained.


The plan evolved to let the members decide. The board then designated $2,500 to be given away in the month of June. The credit union planned for good old cash giveaways based on nominations – three weeks of 10 individual $50 awards, and then a final week of 20 $50 awards.  


So far this month, the cash has been presented to teachers, convenience store personnel, restaurant workers, medical staff, Vermillion Public Transit employees, a librarian, and more. The credit union has also been making the most of their gifts – by posting each award on their Facebook page. According to Janet, there have been thousands of “Views” and hundreds of “Likes,” with more engagement and interaction on social media than they have ever experienced.


Janet continues, “It has been a treat for us to be able to read all of the nominations; there really are a lot of people making life better for all of us. The recipients are very happy and excited to get the $50, but it seems so far that they are more appreciative that someone thought enough of them to write out a nomination application.” To be eligible, the nominees do not have to be members of Vermillion FCU, but they must be located within their field of membership. And while the credit union staff cannot nominate or win the cash, it doesn’t mean their efforts have gone unnoticed.


“I deeply appreciate my staff and all the things they are doing,” Janet expounded. “They come to work every day and calm the fears of each other, and of our members. Even when no one truly understands what the heck is going on, there seems to be comfort in numbers. This has been a fun project, and our entire staff is involved in one way or another,” she concluded.


For more photos, and to read some of the nominations visit Vermillion FCU’s Facebook page.


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