We will…Promote strong and viable communities.
So, what is a strong community and what is a viable community? And how does Verity actually go about promoting them? These are wonderful words in our mission statement, but are they just words on paper, or are they more than that?
I have a new definition for this word. In November a team from Verity went to serve dinner at the Ronald McDonald House. The RM House exists to give familes a place to stay while their children undergo treatment at the Children’s Hospital. That night I met a seven year old boy, I didn’t ask his name, I was just serving food and the only thing he gave me was his smile. He was obviously there for treatment himself, his hat covering his bald scalp. I didn’t do anything remarkable; I just asked if he’d like another soda pop. He said “no thank you” with a big, happy smile…as if I was offering him cotton candy at a Seahawks game. Not as a seven year old kid away from home eating Domino’s pizza in a cafeteria. I walked away wondering when his little body went through chemo last? Two days ago? Last week? Does he have another round coming up on Monday??
Strength? He has strength. His mom has strength. The volunteers that work there every week have strength. They are a strong community and on one blistery November evening, Verity showed up and promoted it.
The word viable means something that is feasible or capable of working. Fred Hill discovered what viable meant 45 years ago. In 1971 Hill was a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles when his 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. He was in and out of the children’s hospital a lot that year and noticed families sleeping in their cars. They were not homeless; they were just from out of town, their children receiving transplants at the hospital. Sleeping in a car in Philadelphia is exceedingly dangerous. Certainly not the right place for parents with terminally ill children. So, Fred Hill and his team did something about it.
The Eagles team held fundraisers with local McDonalds and used the funds to purchase a 6 bedroom house near the children’s hospital. Instead of two, three or four family members sleeping in hospital room chairs, or worse…their cars, they now had a “home-away-from-home”. Seems feasible right? Hill was also friends with Ed Rensi, the regional manager for McDonalds. Rensi enlisted the McDonalds owner-operators of the Pennsylvania area and they grew this model to 10 houses by 1979. Seems capable of working, right?
Today there are 322 Ronald McDonald houses in 57 different countries. Last November, Verity showed up at one of them, and we helped bring a smile to a little boy’s face.
Going beyond the words:
Working for Verity, I think we have learned what makes a community strong and viable. It is people helping people. You’ve heard that before. I didn’t learn this at a credit union seminar, I learned this from Verity employees. People who advocated for their cause and asked others to come join them. From watching colleagues give dozens of hours of their time to helping others. We have shown what these mission statement words mean by participating in the actions the words inspire. Last Friday, it was volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and serving warm pizza and pop. What will it be next time? People helping people. Just sayin’.
Hello, I’m Jeremy – I manage the business development efforts for Verity’s mortgage department. My passion is in helping Verity members down the path to financial freedom and home ownership. I try to go beyond the mortgage loan when helping members as I discuss real estate and financial education.
I have a degree in financial services and financial management from California State University. I currently live in Auburn, WA with my wife and baby on the way.