August 28, 2012
“The day credit unions start paying their directors is the day I resign,” Jackson Jones said emphatically. “I am a firm believer in volunteer boards.”
And Jones walks his talk, having been a credit union volunteer since 1967.
You read that correctly. That’s more than four decades of service studying balance sheets, coming to grips with regulations, lobbying lawmakers and recommending policy to the CEOs. For his remarkable commitment, Jones has won the prestigious Summit Award in the Credit Union Volunteer of the Year category.
Jones was a science teacher when he first answered the call to volunteer service on the board of Jackson County Teachers Federal Credit Union in Medford, Ore. It was a small, struggling financial institution back in the day. Jones’ colleagues who nominated him for the Summit Award noted that he has been “directly involved in the leadership and decision making directives” that resulted in the former Teachers Credit Union’s evolution to become the strong, solvent financial institution now known as Rogue Federal Credit Union.
The credit union has seen just four CEOs in its history, and Jones has been around to help guide every one of them. But the current CEO, Gene Pelham, was saying “Yes, sir,” to Jones long before he landed the job. And that’s where the twist comes in.
It turns out Jones was Pelham’s science teacher, and his wife was Pelham’s first-grade teacher.
Jones retired from the classroom 18 years ago, but doesn’t want to close the book on the volunteer board yet—not by a long shot. He’s too loyal.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’” Jones said. “It goes all the way back to when I got married. We had no money even for a washer and dryer. So, I went to the credit union. They helped me with no problem at all, and I’ve been with them ever since.”
Jones’ passion hasn’t changed in all the years since—but the requirements for board members have.
“Our responsibilities are so much greater than they were even 10 years ago. With the new government regulations, they expect board members to understand financial statements,” Jones remarked. Jones has been active on many Rogue committees including the Governance Committee, which is now spending “oodles of time” rewriting the handbook.
“One of the most moving things in my time serving on the board was back when the banks were trying to keep credit unions from expanding their membership,” Jones said. “I remember going to D.C. for the big demonstration.” Jones was part of the historic “50 State March on the Capital” in 1998—part of the impressive lobbying effort that resulted in passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act.
Jones has attended many Government Affairs Conferences in Washington since then and knows how effective grassroots efforts are.
Jones has also attended advanced training workshops to make him a better board member, but his volunteerism isn’t limited strictly to credit union activities. He’s an active volunteer in his community, including giving time to his church and serving as a youth group leader.
His leadership in the credit union movement, continued commitment to education, promotion of the credit union philosophy and strong sense of social responsibility earned him the Northwest region’s highest volunteer honor. He will be honored at the Summit Awards gala on Oct. 4 at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, Wash., as part of the 2012 Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Convention and Annual Business Meeting.
The Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF) Summit Awards honor individuals for their outstanding achievement in four categories: Credit Union Volunteer of the Year, Credit Union Professional of the Year, Young Credit Union Professional of the Year, and the Mark of Excellence Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the credit union movement over a sustained period of 25 years or more.
Awards are presented annual at the Summit Awards Dinner during the Association’s annual Convention. Registration information is available on the NWCUA’s dedicated Convention website.
Questions? Contact the NWCUA Awards Program: 800.995.9064, ext. 106; firstname.lastname@example.org.