DENVER–The Mountain West Credit Union Association presented its annual credit union Professional and Volunteer of the Year awards during its annual meeting here.
The awards include the second annual HOPE Award, which stands for "Helping People Every Day." HOPE nominees were recognized throughout the year either at their credit union, a Chapter event or within their state.
Professional of the Year: Sandy Neves, retiring President and CEO of Fitzsimons Credit Union in Aurora, Colo. "Sandy's dedication to both the credit union movement and her community are evident in the long list of committees and activities in which she has participated in her decades-long career," said Scott Earl, president and CEO of the Mountain West Credit Union Association. "Her service includes work within the credit union community and her local community, giving time and energy to matters that are vitally important to the community's well-being."
Neves began working at her credit union as a teller 36 years ago and was tapped to be the CEO eight years later after serving in various roles in the credit union. Since then, she has taken it from a $50 million credit union to $175 million and led it through several major economic disruptions and forced relocations.
Volunteer of the Year: Michael A.K. Fansler, chairman of the board, Aventa Credit Union in Colorado Springs, Colo. Fansler has been active in the credit union movement for 51 years and served in every capacity imaginable, from driving a float in the local parade to participating in Hike the Hill visits in Washington, D.C. He has served the credit union movement at every level, local chapter, state and in national government affairs. In large part to his leadership, the credit union has grown in assets from $500,000 to $175 million, according to the MWCUA.
HOPE Award: Rosemary Sprenger, from Banner Federal Credit Union in Phoenix, was named the recipient of the HOPE Award. “Sprenger's kindness and generosity that goes above and beyond her job description played out in the life of a member who lost everything in a house fire,” the MWCA said. “The distraught member came in seeking help to get documentation for her account. But when Sprenger heard the story, she went into action. She led an initiative to help provide basic necessities and household items for the member that made a difficult time a bit easier.”
Separately, the Mountain West CU Association also announced board changes, with two seats filled by acclamation and one by nomination. The two positions filled by acclamation were: Colleen Curtis, Southwest Healthcare Credit Union, Phoenix, who was re-elected for a three-year term for Arizona; and Steve Higginson, Reliant Federal Credit Union, Casper, Wyo., who was re-elected for a three-year term for Wyoming. In Colorado, by nomination, John Faries, Columbine Federal Credit Union in Centennial, Colo., was elected for a three-year at-large term.