RAPID CITY, S.D.–Five credit unions and the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas responded by providing drinking water to Lakota FCU and its members following floods here.
The devastating floods most affected the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which is served by Lakota Federal Credit Union, and which is home to almost 20,000 people, with half living at or below the poverty level.
The flooding issues were compounded when there was a water main break, leaving many in the community without drinkable water, reported the CUAD. After learning about the problems the community was facing, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas President/CEO Jeff Olson contacted Shayna Ferguson, manager of Lakota FCU to ask what could be done to help.
“It has been pretty hectic here,” said Ferguson. “A large portion of our reservation was without running water for six days, and many still do not have clean drinking water.”
Ferguson also explained that the credit union had purchased the last available pallet of water from their closest Sam’s Club, and offered the supplies for free to those in the community who needed it, but their supply was depleted. That was when Olson reached out to other Rapid City area credit unions, asking for assistance, according to the CUAD.
Five credit unions sprang into action, in a real-life demonstration of cooperative principles, the CUAD said, and Black Hills FCU staff and Northern Hills FCU staff delivered more than 3,000 bottles of water to Lakota FCU. In addition, Sentinel FCU, Med5 FCU and Highmark FCU formed a caravan of vehicles carrying more water, and delivered an additional 4,800 bottles of water.
“In a real-life demonstration of credit union cooperative principles, more than 7,800 bottles of much-needed drinking water were delivered to Lakota FCU, which began distributing the water from their office in Kyle,” the CUAD said.
“Lakota FCU staff also ventured out into more remote communities via the ‘Rolling Rez’ bus to deliver fresh drinking water to anyone in need in the areas of Wounded Knee, Red Shirt, North Route, and Sharps Corner, among others.
“These efforts are truly an example of the credit union difference,” said Olson. “This is what credit unions do every day. Collaboration among cooperatives is one of our driving principles, and so is commitment to our communities. The assistance that each of these credit unions provided to Lakota FCU is a clear demonstration of that. We applaud the terrific efforts that our credit union family provided to their neighbors in this time of need.”
“The response has been overwhelming,” added Ferguson. “We are so grateful to the association and for the credit unions that stepped up to help at this time. It makes me proud to be a part of the cooperative movement.”