When I go to a baseball or football game one of my favorite moments is the singing of the national anthem. Many times they also play “God Bless America” which is a beautiful and patriotic song. I sometimes wonder though, why don’t they play “America the Beautiful” more often. Maybe it’s because Ray Charles is no longer with us and nobody can sing it like he did at the 2001 World Series.

Still it deserves more play because of all the patriotic songs out there; I think it best captures the beauty and peace loving nature of our country. This point was driven home to me over the 4th of July weekend, when my fifteen year-old daughter Annie and I traveled to Billings, Montana for a family reunion. While there, we saw with our own eyes the purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain and the amber waves of grain.

We also traveled to the Little Bighorn Memorial, where white stones mark the spots where Custer and his troops fell.  Adjacent to the monument is a national cemetery with rows of similar stones, marking the graves of veterans of every war from the Spanish-American to Desert Storm. It should be noted that unlike the battle monuments, this cemetery contains the remains and honors the sacrifices of both native and non-native Americans.

(L-R)Lew, Mark, Greg and Gary Bequette, Great Grandsons of Jonathon Fee and Ruby, standing in front of the remains of the stone house.

(L-R)Lew, Mark, Greg and Gary Bequette, Great Grandsons of Jonathon Fee and Ruby, standing in front of the remains of the stone house.

By far the best part of the trip was a visit to the land where my great grand-parents and their 14 (soon to be 15) kids homesteaded. Jonathon Fee and Ruby Bequette settled there in 1907, and they found the fields to be full of rocks.  So being resourceful, they used many of the rocks to build a small house and a barn. Fortunately the original homestead is still in the family, so we were able to tour the property and get some pictures of the remains of both buildings, including this one of me with my three older brothers.

My dad was born nearby in 1920, but my grandfather moved the family to Seattle in 1922. Ruby came to Seattle later and when she died in 1941, she was buried in the Washelli cemetery, adjacent to the present headquarters of Verity Credit Union.

Although beautiful, the landscape in this part of Montana is quite barren and I was amazed that earlier generations of my family were able to scratch out a living there. I’m not surprised and eternally grateful they later came out to Seattle looking for a better life. Getting back to the song, they were part of the migration west from “… sea to shining sea.”

Lew Bequette

My name is Lew Bequette and I joined the Verity team in October of 2014. Although I am new to Verity, I have almost twenty-four years’ experience working in credit unions. I was born in Kirkland and have lived most of my life (so far) on the east side of Lake Washington, but I have also lived in the South Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and for 10 years in Prior Lake, Minnesota. I graduated from the University of Washington (GO DAWGS!!) with a degree in accounting and St. Martin’s University (GO SAINTS!!) with an MBA.

I always knew I would be a CPA, and I was even pretty sure I would work in a financial institution. So I decided I should do something different first and I joined the Navy right out of high school. I worked as radar technician and later  taught electronics technicians how to troubleshoot and repair a certain piece of cryptographic equipment. I didn’t get to see the whole world, but I did see a good portion of Asia, and I got a lot of good stories to tell.

Now I’m living in Redmond and (along with my wonderful wife) raising a couple a couple of great kids. I like to take my dog for walks at Marymoor Park, take a few pictures and I’m a big sports fan. I love the Mariners and the Seahawks, but my favorite teams are my kids’ baseball and softball teams.

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