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NW mudslide relief efforts top $100K
SEATAC, Wash. (4/14/14)--In all, Northwest credit unions and the Northwest Credit Union Association have raised more than $102,000 to help aid the victims and their families affected by the mudslide that tragically hit a community just north of Seattle last month.
Qualstar CU member Ty Suddarth was running errands when the Oso mudslide hit; however his partner, Amanda Skorjanc, and their baby, Duke, were both home and sustained critical injuries. (Northwest Credit Union Association photo)

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation spearheaded the effort, bringing in about $65,000 in donations, but many other individuals and credit unions also contributed.

For example, a fund has been started at Qualstar CU, Redmond, Wash., $345 million in assets, to help Ty Suddarth, his partner, Amanda Skorjanc, and their baby, Duke, who lost their home along with all of their possessions in the mudslide March 22.

Suddarth had been out running errands when the slide occurred, but Skorjanc and Duke were still home. They survived, but both suffered critical injuries and remain at Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

Qualstar has been building up a fund to help the family pay for new clothes, household items and medical expenses, and as of last week the fund had reached nearly $19,500, with an ultimate goal of $30,000.

BECU, $11.9 billion in assets, meanwhile, through its employee giving program, launched a two-for-one match for any donation over $25.

Credit union employees have donated $11,858, and BECU has offered up $23,716 in matching dollars through that effort, bringing their total up to $35,574. The Tukwila-based credit union will deliver checks to the Red Cross and United Way of Snohomish County Tuesday.

Spokane Teachers CU, Liberty Lake, Wash., $1.8 billion in assets, has raised $2,105 as of April 9 through its "Oso Strong!" campaign. The funds will be donated to the Red Cross in the Spokane area as well.  

The foundation also received $5,000 donations each from OSU FCU, Corvallis, Ore., $830 million in assets; Washington State ECU, Olympia, Wash., $1.9 billion in assets; and Alaska USA FCU, Anchorage, Alaska, $5.4 billion in assets.

Clackamas FCU, Milwaukie, Ore., $253 million in assets, and First Tech FCU, Mountain View, Calif.,  $6.5 billion in assets, each contributed $2,500.

About a dozen $1,000 donations from credit unions throughout the Northwest also were sent.  

The grand total for donations will likely continue to balloon as well, said Gary Stein of Northwest Credit Union Association, who is still waiting for checks from more than a dozen credit unions in the region.

GESA CU, Richland, Wash., $1.3 billion in assets, also plans to match community members' donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000, but Stein hasn't yet seen the total.

"Credit unions exist to help people, and we are committed to doing what we can to help," said GESA CU President/CEO Don Miller ( Anthem April 8). "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, the families who have lost homes, and the first responders who are still working to find survivors."

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