Recipients (Click the link for their stories)
2014: Ray Bauschke (Cambrian CU)
2013: Al Morin (Assiniboine CU), Don Farr (Minnedosa CU)
2012: Doug Crookshanks (Crocus CU), Lee Family (Erickson & Assiniboine CU)
2011: Mel Klassen (Access CU), Wayne McLeod (Westoba CU)
2010: Marion Wroth (CUCM)
2008: Barney Martin (CUCM)
2007: John Gottfried (Casera CU)
2006: Stan Scarr (Winnipeg Police CU), Harold Foster (Noventis CU)
2005: Monsignor Arthur Benoit, Norwood Grove Study Group (Pioneer Awards)
2004: Dave Hughes (Crocus CU), George Sawatzky (Niverville CU), Herman Wiebe (Agassiz CU)
2003: Bill Halpenny (Astra CU), Wasyl Topolnicky (Carpathia CU), Henry Wiebe (Winkler CU)
The Program (for nomination information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Since 2003, the Manitoba Credit Unions Order of Merit Award has recognized individuals who — whether as employees or elected officials — have demonstrated a significant commitment to the Manitoba credit union system. In addition to the honour of being selected, recipients receive a $1,000 bursary to be presented to a student from a secondary or post-secondary educational institution of the inductee’s choosing.
Those selected have a record of exemplary service to the Manitoba credit union system (including and beyond the local credit union to which they belong) and have: made tangible contributions to the development, governance, or operation of credit unions and the Manitoba system; demonstrated leadership in the preservation and extension of the philosophy of people helping people; demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to the cooperative principles; and have engaged in additional public service that reflects favourably on credit unions at the local and provincial level.
Harry Bowler – nominated by the board of Sunrise CU
Harry began his career as general manager of Tiger Hills Credit Union in 1986 and ended it as CEO of Sunrise Credit Union in 2017 — a 31-year string of uninterrupted service to the same organization.
Harry has been involved with system committees his entire career, serving on the Management Advisory, Democratic Control, Risk & Bonding and System Credit committees, in addition to serving as chair of various districts over the years. He has also been an active member of the Credit Union Managers Association of Manitoba (CUMAM). His service on its executive included two terms as president and several stints as its convention chair.
After the amalgamation of Cypress River, Hartney, Virden, Tiger Hills, Turtle Mountain that created Sunrise in 2007, Harry was instrumental in helping form the Westman Marketing Group. By cobranding their involvement and sponsorship activities, the group has enabled credit unions to increase their presence throughout the region. It also provides collaboration opportunities in staff/board training and district relationships.
Harry has been a very active member of the communities in which he’s worked, making sure the credit union was always well-represented. He served, often as president or chair, the Treherne Curling Club, Delahunt Golf Club, Treherne Minor Athletic, Treherne & Area Foundation, Treherne Chamber of Commerce, Treherne Economic Development Committee and Treherne Kinsmen Club, all of which benefited from his management skills. He says that being the founding chair of the Treherne & Area Foundation, which now has assets in excess of $1 million, was very rewarding. “This is very impressive for a small community and provides a great legacy for the community.”
He also started a minor baseball program; starting with one team of 12 players, it soon had over 100 kids involved.
Harry has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to his award go to a student enrolled in Business Admin or Agri-Business at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, based on scholastic achievement and community involvement.
Margaret Day – nominated by the board of Assiniboine Credit Union
Margaret began her 28 years’ service to our system with her election to the board of Buffalo, a closed-bond credit union for provincial public sector employees. Twice chair, she led Buffalo through its merger with Assiniboine in 2008. She served one term as chair while on Assiniboine’s board from 2008-2015. She was their representative on the Large Credit Union Conference (LCUC) — a small but influential group that has sparked collaboration and innovation across the national system — and on the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. She served one term on CUCM’s board.
Progress, innovation, diversity and governance have been her touchstones. Among their many achievements with Margaret at the helm, Buffalo moved into the Union Centre on Broadway, opened its bond, and provided Lions Place seniors with in-Manor service calls, while Assiniboine opened in an area of Winnipeg’s North End abandoned by banks, and developed a mortgage product for Muslims that didn’t conflict with their faith. In guiding her organizations into two mergers, she and took from the unsuccessful one as much valuable experience as from the first. When Margaret says, “the strategic work of an organization is a collective effort with a lot of experienced minds working and learning together to determine the best possible solution,” it is not an abstraction: in 2011, she received her institute of Corporate Directors’ ICD.D designation. Assiniboine is widely recognized for its commitment to good governance shares its practices with local and national credit unions.
Margaret continues to dedicate her time and effort to a list of community, provincial and international efforts that have included the United Way, MFL Occupation Health Centre, Canadian Labour Congress, MB B&B Marketing Co-op, and the Nor-West Community Food Centre, among others. Last year, she cosponsored a Syrian refugee family.
Margaret has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to her award go to a female indigenous student, with an interest in co-operatives, who is studying at the UofW Selkirk Avenue campus.
John Klassen – nominated by Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba
John was introduced to our system as an employee of Manitoba Telephone Services. He joined as a member of Decibel — the MTS employees’ credit union, which merged with Hy-Line (Vantis) and then Assiniboine — and, in 1970, was appointed to its supervisor committee. He resigned in 1975 when he became an inspector with the Credit Union Stabilization Fund, which sent him to Brandon in 1977 to manage its western region. In 1979 he joined Westoba as VP Finance, a position he held until 1999.
Provincial rules that limited annual withdrawals and locked in 100% of contributions had long been a thorn in the side of Manitobans with defined-contribution pension plans when John joined the ranks of the retired. Over the course of a long campaign, John engaged the Manitoba credit union system, and helped mobilize the Manitoba Society of Seniors and other stakeholders, to lobby for change. MLAs and members of the provincial pension commission became well-acquainted with John; famously, he lay in wait at the legislature to present Gary Doer with a highly metaphorical impatience plant. Following a sustained campaign that involved many within the ranks of our system, in 2004 the annual withdrawal rate went from six to eight per cent and retirees were allowed to unlock 50% of their funds.
Perhaps rekindled by the pension campaign, in 2005 John joined the Deposit Guarantee Corporation (DGCM) board, where he served in a variety of capacities, include chair, over the course of 10 years.
John has a solid record of volunteerism in Brandon, from board service to Westman Media Co-op, Wheat City Lions Club and Valleyview Community Centre to coaching youth hockey and canvassing for a number of charities. He has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to his award go to a graduate of Vincent Massey Collegiate — with good grades and a history of volunteering — who is planning to study business, accounting or education at the post-secondary level.
Michael Taylor – nominated by the board of Winnipeg Police Credit Union
Michael began his career with Astra in 1972, and quickly showed his dedication to the system by serving on the Winnipeg Chapter of Credit Unions from 1973-75. He moved to the Stabilization Fund in 1976 as an auditor, and then worked with credit unions in deficit positions. Anxious to apply experience to a credit union, he became general manager of Winnipeg Police (WPCU) in 1990.
From the start, Michael displayed a high level of commitment and dedication to the cooperative principals, particularly ‘cooperation among cooperatives’. Over the years, WPCU developed a wide range of policies, business processes and technology and shared the information freely with other credit unions. His commitment earned WPCU the reputation as a “go-to” organization on new policies and practices.
As its longest serving director (20 years, including three terms as president), Michael’s dedication to the development of CUMAM’s Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and Objectives helped to formalize its role as a professional management organization. His participation on national CUSOURCE and CUDA task forces contributed to the value and relevance of “The Credit Union System” course and clarified the competencies required of directors. (WPCU was the first board in Canada to complete the entire CUDA program.)
Michael served on various system committees over the years, including HR, Marketing, Technology Advisory, Orderly Development, Risk & Bonding and Management Advisory. He was the driving credit union force behind the Order of Merit program, and served six years as CUMAM’s representative on the committee.
He was also instrumental in founding the Manitoba Credit Union Golf Tournament, which he ran for 25 years.
Outside the system, he serves as a director and treasurer of Status4 Inc., a local charitable organization, and as a director and treasurer of the condominium corporation in Oakbank where he and wife Kathy live. Michael has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to his award go to the Credit Union Young Leaders of Manitoba (CUYLM), to be used to educate and motivate our young leaders of the future.
Val Soltys – nominated by Erickson CU
Over the course of her 43-year career, Val Soltys has held almost every position within Erickson Credit Union including, since 2006, general manager. Under her leadership, the credit union has grown by an average of 7.75 per cent per year. Asset growth is just one way to measure success, though, and Val’s contributions — to the credit union, the wider system and the community — started much earlier than 2006.
As described by the Erickson board in their nomination of her for this award, Val has played an important leadership role at the credit union for many years. She motivates staff to perform to the best of their abilities, gladly steps into any role when she’s needed, and focuses on solutions when challenges present themselves, such as recent ones to systems and reporting requirements.
In serving the wider system, Val has been a long-serving member of the Credit Union Small Market Planning Committee, a group that meets regularly to share best practices of operating in smaller, primarily rural, communities. The group discusses — and often forges alliances in — such areas as banking systems and technology, marketing, human resources and management.
Erickson is the epitome of a credit union with a ‘community’ bond of association, and throughout her career Val has, whether on behalf of the credit union or from a sense of civic duty (we suspect it’s both) served her community well. At the board and committee level she has served the Canadian Legion, Erickson Curling Club, Recreation Association, Erickson Jamboree, local blood donor clinic and, for the past 13 years, the Erickson Chamber of Commerce. She has taught co‐operative courses at the elementary and high schools and mentored other staff to get involved in the teaching process. She reaches out to First Nations communities and attends their functions.
In 2010, the citizens of Erickson elected her mayor, a post she held until 2014. “As mayor, Val approached all matters with an open heart and mind,” the board wrote. “Her
support of the community has made this a great place to live and her style of leadership has inspired others to stand beside her to carry on building this community. She took our community from competing with other communities to co‐operating with them.”
In 2014, from a field of nominees across the west including Brandon, Val was nominated for the YWCA’s Western Manitoba Woman of Distinction Award. Initially reluctant to accept the nomination, she did so because she felt it might inspire young women in the community to rise to their potential. She won the award.
Val has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to her Order of Merit award go to a student graduating from Erickson Collegiate who demonstrates leadership and mentorship qualities, concern for community and a commitment to personal growth and learning.
Dave Omichinski – nominated by Portage Credit Union
Dave Omichinski started his career in the system in 1972, as a management trainee with Portage Credit Union. In 1973, he left to embark on a path that took him to Co-operators Credit Union (1973–78), CUCM (1978–83), DGCM (1983–85, where he co-led the first Performance Improvement Program, working with financially impacted credit unions to rethink and retool how they, and other credit unions, conduct business), Heritage and Cambrian (1985–89), then DGCM. The skills he developed in those two decades allowed him to return home in 1992 as general manager (CEO) of Portage Credit Union.
The credit union has thrived under Dave’s leadership. His career experience instilled in him a healthy appreciation for good governance, which became a focus for the board after he arrived. Portage broke $50 million in assets in 1988, $100 million in 2000, $200 million in 2010 and currently sits at just under $300 million. Equity sat at 6.19 per cent in December 2014.
He began serving the wider system in 1978, working on CUCM committees dedicated to model lending and personnel policies, liquidity and financial management, and orderly development. He also serves or served on CUCM’s Management, Human Resources and Insurance advisory committees and the Manitoba Credit Union Collaboration Group. Nationally, he was a member of the Cumis National Appeals Committee.
Dave has been a very active member of his community. Currently president of the Portage & District Chamber of Commerce, he serves or served on the Portage & Area Beautification Committee, Portage Golf Club, Portage Public Art Steering Committee, and Downtown Business Association, which he co-founded. He also sat on the Premier’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Aboriginal employment and moderated two civic election all-candidates forums. In addition to formal committees, a long list of organizations and initiatives dedicated to crime prevention, community engagement, redevelopment, and other efforts have benefitted from his enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise.
His belief in community service is contagious. In 2000, Portage Credit Union employees were awarded the Volunteer Award for Manitoba Business from the Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg. For 17 consecutive years, 100 per cent of PCU employees have supported the United Way through bi-weekly payroll deduction.
Dave received the chamber’s Executive of the Year award in 2002, the credit union was named Business of the Year in 2004 and, in 2013, Dave was named Portage la Prairie’s Citizen of the Year.
“Dave lives and breathes the co-operative principles, willingly acting as a valuable resource to community members as well as fellow credit union system members,” the Portage board said in its nomination of Dave. “He’s a testament to people helping people.”
Dave has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to this award go to a 2016 graduate of Portage Collegiate Institute who will be furthering their education, with a preference to a student going into the business world.
Ray Bauschke – nominated by Cambrian Credit Union
Over the course of the 55 years that Ray Bauschke has served the international credit union system, he has made a significant impact on innumerable credit unions, centrals and regulatory bodies in roles as varied as employee, director and consultant. Always eager to share his knowledge as a teacher, speaker, facilitator and author, his has been a varied and rich career.
He started his credit union career as the accountant for the Credit Union League of Manitoba (1957-59), then moved on to general manager positions with Astra (1959-1963) and Co-operators, now Cambrian, (1964-1968). Early on, he was drawn to the academic — and international — aspects of the system. He is listed as a charter member and founder of the Madison-based Credit Union Executive Society (CUES), an organization dedicated to executive and director education.
From 1968 to 1971 he worked as VP of CU Services with the Minnesota League of Credit Unions (a central), then, following a two-year stint as the WHA Jets’ business manager, came back to the fold to work as a project manager with Manitoba’s Stabilization Fund, where he was responsible for shepherding a number of credit unions back to health. He spent the balance of the 1970s and into the ’80s consulting, writing and teaching. In Ontario, in addition to helping credit unions in trouble, he wrote that deposit guarantee corporation’s comprehensive Sound Business and Financial Practices for Ontario Credit Unions and conducted studies for sustainable credit union development. He taught credit union management courses for CUNA at the universities of Houston, Cornel, Notre Dame and Berkley, and facilitated strategic planning and delivered innumerable lectures, seminars and speeches in the US, UK, Canada and the Caribbean. During this time, the National Credit Union Administration (the federal CU regulator) recommended to many credit unions in trouble that they engage Ray.
Over the course of his career, Ray wrote Credit Union Directors: A Focus on Power (1971, with Kent Francis), Credit Union Manager’s Salary Manual (1972), Credit Union Management (1973, with Kent Francis), Energize Your Volunteers (1978), The Duties, Responsibilities and Prudent Conduct of Credit Union Directors (1982) and Credit Union Success Principles (1985).
From 2004 to 2012, Bauschke served as director, first vice-chair and corporate governance committee member of Cambrian Credit Union. He was nominated for the Order of Merit award by his fellow board members, who were beneficiaries of the years of knowledge and experience Ray brought to the table.
Ray has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to his award go to a student in the Asper School of Business MBA Program. The recipient, Gregory Parent, is an MBA student.
Al Morin – nominated by Assiniboine CU
Al Morin, the former CEO of Assiniboine Credit Union, joined the provincial credit union system in 1974, starting as a development coordinator with Credit Union Central of Manitoba (CUCM). He left in 1980 to take the position of chief operating officer with Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU), which had five branches and $90 million in assets. When he was appointed CEO in 1997, ACU had eight branches and $350 million in assets. Today, Assiniboine is Canada’s eighth-largest credit union, with $3.5 billion in assets, 550 staff, 24 branches and a network that includes dealer financing, virtual banking, wealth management and insurance.
Under Morin’s leadership ACU has been an agent for change. It was the first credit union in Canada to hire a community economic development manager and, later, a VP of Corporate Social Responsibility and a Socially Responsible Investment Specialist. It established community loans funds, proactively supported a range of co-ops and neighbourhood revitalization and affordable housing efforts, made taxation service available to low-income families, opened branches in areas deemed unviable by banks, built green branches and won dozens of industry and community awards from myriad organizations. In 2012, ACU was the second financial institution in Canada invited to join the prestigious Global Alliance for Banking on Values.
Morin got behind projects, large or small, in which he saw benefit. He led the consortium of 10 credit unions that funded the MTS Centre, now home to the Winnipeg Jets; he was also Winnipeg’s first CEO to sign onto Winnipeg Transit’s EcoPass program.
He also served the wider provincial and national systems with distinction. He was a CUCM director for 11-plus years, serving on most of its committees. He sat on the boards of Concentra, Credential, Ethical Funds and Northwest & Ethical Investments (chair). He currently chairs the Civil Service Superannuation Fund, served seven years on Red River College’s board, three as chair, and donated personal time and effort to launching the Jubilee Fund, which provides loan guarantees or bridge financing to worthy projects that don’t qualify for traditional financing.
Al has asked that the bursary attached to his award go to a student from Argyle Alternative School in Point Douglas.
Don Farr – nominated by Minnedosa Credit Union
Don Farr, the former general manager of Minnedosa Credit Union, joined the provincial system in 1990, after spending the first half of his career with the Bank of Nova Scotia. While a fairly late convert, he made up for lost time by quickly embracing Minnedosa Credit Union’s motto, “Community Owned, Community Minded.”
Farr excelled at community involvement, putting the face of the credit union on numerous community projects through sponsorship and personal involvement. A great supporter of chamber of commerce initiatives, he took on a leadership role on “Shop Local,” “Minnedosa Merchant Bucks,” “Christmas Cheque Program” and “Jeans for Charity” programs, the Terry Fox Run and Family Bonfire Night in the park. Farr served as fundraising chair for Minnedosa’s 125th Anniversary Homecoming in 2008 and was the parade Marshall for over a decade. He was responsible for keeping Fun Fest, a treasured community event, alive. Under his personal direction and leadership, Minnedosa benefited from the credit union’s support of the Minnedosa Foundation, Community Conference Centre, library expansion, Community Child Care Co-op, golf course expansion, Expressions Concert Series and Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa.
Farr served alongside fellow town leaders with the Kinsmen, Elks and Rotary Club and was vice-present and president of the chamber of commerce. Through his efforts, several public buildings including the arena, golf-curling complex and the 50-plus centre are all home to lifesaving defibrillator equipment.
He also served the wider credit union system with distinction. From 1996 to 2011, he coordinated the marketing committee of District 7 and served as district vice-chair from 2002 to 2009, when he was elected to represent District 7 on the CUCM board. For three years, until he was sidelined by health issues in 2012, Farr served on the investment committee, the system credit committee (alternate) and represented the board on the Manitoba Co-operative Association’s awards committee.
“Mentor, leader, colleague, friend; the name Don Farr is synonymous with community support and the Minnedosa Credit Union,” the credit union board stated in its nomination of Don for the Order or Merit award.
Don has asked that the bursary attached to his award go to a graduate of Minnedosa Collegiate Institute who is planning to pursue a career in health care.
The Lee Family – nominated by Erickson and Assiniboine credit unions
Theodore Lee (1885-1965) came north from Minnesota as a young man, married Emma Gusdal (1893-1958) in 1908 and settled down to farm west of Erickson. When the co-op movement came along, Theodore embraced it. He helped organize Erickson’s first pool elevator and served on its board, was a charter member of Erickson Consumers Co-op (1939) and served as the first manager of Erickson Credit Union, which operated from the Lee home when it opened in 1952.
John Lee (1909-1992), known around Erickson as Mr. Co-op, was a charter member and the first president of Erickson CU. He served on the board of Manitoba Pool, like his father, Erickson Consumers Co-op, Co-op Implements, Federated Co-ops and helped organize the Manitoba Federation of Agriculture Co-op Camp (Camp Wannakumbac). The MCA recognized him as a Distinguished Co-operator in 2003.
John’s wife, Harriet (1916-2010), was the credit union’s first secretary. She was very active in her church and community organizations, like 4H. She was also a founding member of the Erickson Women’s Institute (1940) and served on its board for more than 60 years. Harriet and John raised five children, Craig and Norval among them.
At the tail end of a career as an agricultural economist with the province, Craig was elected to Astra’s board. As president from 2004 to 2007, he helped guide its merger with Vantis and Assiniboine, an experience that positioned him well for his current chairmanship of Assiniboine’s governance and ethics committee. He is currently chair of the University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents.
Norval stayed closer to the family roots, literally and figuratively, than his older brother. He took over the family farm and donned the mantle of local co-op leadership. Since 1967, Norval has served Manitoba Pool, Erickson Consumers Co-op, Manitoba Milk Prices Review Board and MAFRI. As a director of Erickson CU since 1988, president since 1990, he represented District 7 on CUCM’s board from 2000 to 2007, serving various committees, and remains CUCM’s representative on the Wasagaming Foundation board. He was an RM of Clanwilliam councillor from 1989 to 1998.
Craig and Norval have asked that the bursary be awarded to a student in UWinnipeg’s Management of Co-operatives program.
Doug Crookshanks – nominated by Crocus Credit Union
Doug Crookshanks has devoted 34 years of his talent and time to serving the Manitoba credit union system. His contributions include 10 years on the board of the Brandon Mental Health Employees Credit Union and, following their merger in 1988, another 24 years with Crocus Credit Union, from which he recently retired as president.
Over the course of his time with the Crocus board, Doug has served the wider system as vice-chair and chair of District 7 and as a member of the planning committee of Executive Forum and CUCM’s Order of Merit committee.
Doug has distinguished himself as a true community supporter by serving as a member of the board of governors of Assiniboine Community College, as a trustee and member of several committees of Knox United Church, as a board member of the Manitoba Psychological Society and, for several years, as a steward and local president of the MGEU. He also managed and coached children’s soccer.
Doug had a distinguished career in the field of psychology, first as a clinician and department head, then as the Program Manager of the Child and Adolescent Treatment Centre in Brandon. His experience with human resources, strategic planning, budgeting and myriad other skills honed during his career in the mental health field proved invaluable to all of the organizations he has lent his skills to, both within and outside the Manitoba credit union system.
Doug has asked that the bursary be awarded to a student in Assiniboine Community College’s mature student program.
Mel Klassen – nominated by Access Credit Union
An educator by training and vocation, Mel retired in 1995 after a 38-year career teaching and serving as principal at schools in the Altona area.
Mel served on the board of Altona Credit Union from 1974 to 2002, for 16 of those 28 years as president. He served for six years on CUCM’s board, for part of his term as vice-president.
In addition to his board and committee work on CUCM’s board, he sat on the MCA’s Distinguished Co-operator Selection Committee and served as president of the Southern Manitoba Chapter of Credit Unions. He also served as a system appointee on the board of the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba from 2001 to December 2011, as chair of its bonding committee from 2003 to 2009.
In addition to his work for Altona Credit Union and the Manitoba credit union system, Mel has served or continues to serve on the boards of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Manitoba Employees’ Pension Fund, and the provincial government’s Green Manitoba Eco Solutions Advisory Board. In 1980, in an initiative close to his heart, he helped establish Altona Minor Ball, which exists to this day and is considered one of the leading baseball programs in Manitoba.
Mel has also served in a variety of capacities on numerous committees related to his church and various other community based organizations and initiatives.
Wayne McLeod – nominated by Westoba Credit Union
Hired as the GM of Brandon Consumers Credit Union in 1970 (renamed Westoba in 1972), Wayne has overseen its expansion from a single branch to the sixth largest CU in Manitoba with over a billion in assets, forty thousand members and 20 branches throughout Manitoba.
Among its many achievements under Wayne’s leadership, Westoba was the first FI outside Winnipeg to install an ATM and the first MB CU to connect to Interac. Wayne started serving the wider system in the early ’70s and never looked back. He is a past chair of the CU Stabilization Fund (DGCM) and CUMAM, MB’s current representative on The Co-operators and Concentra boards and, since 1984, district director on CUCM’s board.
Wayne’s work with the MCA and CCA resulted in his being appointed chair of the Co-operative Development Foundation, an organization about which he is passionate.
Wayne’s work outside the system includes service as board member or chair of the Brandon C of C, general hospital and health authority, economic development board, community college and nine years on city council.
In addition to being named a Manitoba Distinguished Co-operator in 2011, Wayne was Brandon’s Businessperson of the Year for 2002, in recognition of his community leadership, and in 2003 he won a CMHA Best Boss Award for Outstanding Promotion of Mental Health in the Workplace. Every single employee of Westoba Credit Union signed the nomination.
Marion Murphy – nominated by CUCM
Marion Murphy (nee Wroth) was nominated for a posthumous Order of Merit Award, in the Pioneer category, by the board of Credit Union Central of Manitoba.
Ms. Wroth was a strong leader of the Manitoba system during a period in which it was evolving, in terms of its provincial organization, and finding its place in the wider system outside the province.
At the local level, she served as secretary and board member of Swift Canadian Employees Credit Union from 1946 to 1960. (Swift Employees, incorporated in 1945, amalgamated in 1979 with Cooperators Credit Union, which was later renamed Cambrian.) Her service to the wider system began with her election to the executive of the Greater Winnipeg (District 1) Credit Union Chapter, which she served for six years in the 1950’s, two as president.
In 1953 she was elected as a board member of the Co-operative Credit Society of Manitoba and then, in 1956, as the inaugural 1st Vice-President of the Credit Union League of Manitoba, an organization she served until 1960. (The Manitoba League, to which all 192 credit unions and CCSM itself belonged, had the “primary responsibility for the general direction of all phases of the organized credit union movement in this province, including all matters related to general policies, promotion, organization, protection and representation at all levels.” — MB CU League Articles of Incorporation).
From 1956 to 1960 she served as a director, and resolutions committee member, of the Madison-based Credit Union National Association — CUNA being the top tier for the Canadian leagues at the time. It was in Madison that she met Clarence Murphy, Managing Director of the California Credit Union League, whose proposal of marriage she accepted.
Mrs. Murphy appears to have withdrawn from active involvement in the credit union system after moving to California with her husband to raise a family.
The board of Credit Union Central of Manitoba chose to give the $1,000 bursary attached to this award to a student in the new Management of Co-operatives course in the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Economics.
Barney Martin – nominated by CUCM
Barney Martin was nominated for a posthumous Order of Merit Award by the management and board of Credit Union Central of Manitoba.
After starting his career in credit unions in Alberta, first with Tuxedo Credit Union then the Credit Union League of Alberta, Martin came to Manitoba in 1964 to take a position as General Manager of the Credit Union League of Manitoba.
The mid-’60s to the end of the ’70s was an era of steady growth and constant change for the credit union system — a time when credit unions were finding their way from church basements, kitchen tables and small operations into the wider banking world. Martin played an integral role in that growth and change. He was CEO when the Province created the Credit Union Stabilization Fund (now the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation) in 1965. He revised and enhanced drafts of the Credit Unions / Caisses Populaires Act that would be proclaimed in 1970. He brought together the operations of the Credit Union League of Manitoba and the Co-operative Credit Society of Manitoba (CCSM) in 1971 and, while serving as ceo of both organizations, saw the scope of their services grow. (The roles and responsibilities of these and other organizations dedicated to serving credit unions would be brought together in 1979 and later renamed Credit Union Central of Manitoba.) He was also CEO when CUCM opened Credit Union Plaza in 1979, and when skyrocketing interest rates shook the system’s confidence at the end of the decade.
Martin also played a key role in the re-branding of the credit union system with the Hands & Globe as the international symbol, replacing the man under the umbrella. He felt that the Hands & Globe better exemplified the co-operative values and collective strength of the credit union system.
Until his retirement in 1979, Martin worked with colleagues throughout the country and continent in the service of the financial co-operative sector. Starting in 1965 — when there was a great degree of affiliation between the U.S. and Canadian credit union systems — he served as a member and president of the International Association of Managing Directors of Credit Unions, and as the first Canadian representative on the Planning Committee of the U.S.-based Credit Union National Association. In 1969, he provided counsel to the creation of the Jamaican credit union system and served two years as a director of Alberta-based Northland Bank, a co-operative based banking organization.
Outside the credit union system, Martin served president of Riding for the Disabled, the Manitoba Heart Foundation and the Canadian Heart Foundation.
Barney passed away July 9, 1992. He is survived by his wife Pat, daughter Debra and son David.
John Gottfried – nominated by Casera Credit Union
John Gottfried was nominated for the Order of Merit by the board of Casera Credit Union. Although he has served on Casera’s board for the past six years, John is better known to the system as the long-time Member Services Division Manager, Corporate Secretary and twice-interim CEO of Credit Union Central of Manitoba (CUCM) where he worked for 23 years following nine years at Cooperators Credit Union. Over the course of his career, John served on committees at the provincial and national levels including the Credit Granters Association of Winnipeg, CUCM’s System Credit Level III and Orderly Development committees, the Canadian Co-operative Association’s Projects Review Committee and CUCC’s Interprovincial Services and Products Development Committee. He also served on the Board of Governors of the Credit Union Institute of Canada and was CUCM’s liaison with the Credit Union Managers’ Association of Manitoba.
Outside the system, John gave and continues to give of his time to organizations in Winnipeg and his home community of Transcona. He sat on the boards of the Better Business Bureau and the Catholic Foundation of Winnipeg and remains active with his local Knights of Columbus as a founding member of the council. His ongoing work with L’Arche, an organization founded in France by a Canadian, Jean Vanier, has been a highlight of his volunteer life. John describes as “incredible” the way L’Arche residents respond to the live-in care and encouragement they receive.
Serving on the refugee committee of his church became a 40-hour-a-week job for John following his retirement. He dealt with the legal and administrative challenges of Canada’s immigration process in securing refugee status for a mother and seven children from Sierra Leone, worked to find them housing, secured medical cards, food and clothing, and set them up in jobs and programs that helped them pursue educational opportunities. They are, variously, in school or gainfully employed in their new lives in Canada.
He also served many years with Oxford Heights Community Centre, the Transcona Nationals Football Club and, with a friend and fellow fan, brought junior baseball back to life in Transcona in the early 1990s. He continues to volunteer at the Transcona Food Bank.
In his volunteer and community service work, John says he likes to serve for a relatively short time then move on to something new. Transcona can expect to see John Gottfried take on new challenges in the years to come.
In the spirit of the path followed by his children, John has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to his award go to a student in Collège Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s band program who has been involved in volunteerism in their community and plans to pursue a post-secondary education. The school awarded the bursary to Christopher Adams of Winnipeg.
Harold Foster – nominated by Arborg Credit Union
Harold Foster was nominated for the Order of Merit award by the board of directors of Arborg Credit Union, a body on which he served for nearly 30 years, from 1975 to 2004. From 1981 to 2002 he served as Arborg Credit Union’s president.
From 1983 to 2001, Harold represented District 6 credit unions on the board of Credit Union Central of Manitoba, during which time he served on the System Credit and Orderly Development committees, the board of Co-operative Trust (Concentra Financial) and the Wasagaming Foundation. He was also regional representative on the Cooperators board from 1983 to 2001.
A recipient, in 2003, of a Distinguished Cooperator Award from the Manitoba Co-operative Association, Harold’s record of community service outside the credit union system is also extensive. For the past 10 years he has served as Reeve of the RM of Bifrost and has, over the years, served as chairman or board member of the Arborg & District Agricultural Society, Association of Manitoba Municipalities, Bifrost Arborg Riverton Waste Site, East Interlake Conservation District, East Interlake Planning District, Interlake Natural Gas Co-op, Manitoba Conservation Districts Association, Northstar Co-operative Cheese Plant and the Vidir Community Club.
Harold and his brother, Ken, operate the Foster family farm in the Arborg area.
Harold asked that the $1,000 Manitoba Credit Union Order of Merit bursary go to a student graduating from Arborg Collegiate who has donated his or her time throughout high school to volunteering and community service. The school awarded the bursary to Ms. Avery Simundsson of Arborg.
Stan Scarr – nominated by Winnipeg Police Credit Union
Stan Scarr was president of Winnipeg Police Credit Union from 1976 to 2006 and served on its board for 44 years — well over half the time credit unions have existed in Manitoba. A 2002 inductee into the national Credit Union Hall of Fame, Stan was nominated for the Manitoba Credit Union Order of Merit award by the board of Winnipeg Police Credit Union.
Stan served on the board of Credit Union Central of Manitoba for eight years, beginning in 1993 — as president from 1996 to 2001. During his time on the CUCM board, he served on the Audit and System Credit committees, CUDGC’s Rewards and Sanctions Committee, Executive Forum executive, the board of CUCC and its NSE Governance Task Force. He also chaired the CUCM CEO Selection Committee in 1998–99.
During his term as a CUCM director, Stan established a process of periodically meeting with District 4 credit union managers to ensure their views were considered by CUCM, clearly demonstrating his commitment to his role as a co-operative system leader.
Outside the co-operative system, Stan served on boards or volunteered with Cubs and Scouts, Winnipeg Good Neighbours Club, the Winnipeg Museum and Historical Society, Citizenship Council of Manitoba and the Christmas Cheer Board.
Stan had a distinguished 37-year career with the Winnipeg Police Service, from which he retired in 1990 as Deputy Chief of Police.
Stan asked that the $1,000 Manitoba Credit Union Order of Merit bursary go to a U of M or U of W bound graduate of Kildonan East Collegiate, where all three of his children attended school. The school awarded the bursary to Mr. Chris Harris of Winnipeg.
Pioneer Category Inductee – Monsignor Arthur Benoit
Monsignor Arthur Benoit has long been recognized as the founder of the first credit union in Manitoba.
Founded in 1937, St. Malo (later a caisse populaire) was one of many credit unions organized from within Catholic parishes. Although a credit union had been established and was operated by Father St. Amant in St. Jean Baptiste from 1911 to 1918, St. Malo was the first to be chartered under provincial legislation — a 1937 amendment to the Companies Act — that enabled the formation of credit unions.
In the 1930s, Father Benoit (Monsignor by the time of his death in 1948) saw that his parishioners — like most farmers on the continent — were suffering. He brought them together to help each other financially. The first loan to a member, $56.50 to be repaid in monthly installments of $2.00, financed the purchase of a cream separator. Father Benoit’s activity appears not to have ended in St. Malo. In 1942, one year after he was appointed its parish priest, Holy Cross Credit Union was chartered. While no evidence can be found that shows Father Benoit was a founder of that Winnipeg credit union, the timing is not likely coincidental.
The Parish of St. Malo has asked that the bursary in Msgr. Benoit’s name be awarded to a 2006 Grade 12 graduate from the St. Malo area who also successfully completed the parish’s Religious Studies credit program. The parish awarded the bursary to Ms. Chantal Desrosiers of St. Pierre.
Pioneer Category Inductee – Norwood Grove Study Group #1
The lack of access to credit during the Great Depression of the 1930s provided enormous impetus to the development of credit unions in rural and urban centres throughout North America. The message about credit unions reached Manitoba through churches, unions, immigration, newspapers — and radio.
Chicago’s WCFL (The Voice of Labour, which reached into Canada) carried broadcasts from the Extension Services department of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. “Credit unions will help you lift yourself by your own bootstraps,” the broadcasts declared. For the price of printing and postage, listeners could send away to Antigonish for workbooks that led them through the process of forming and operating co-operatives. The Norwood Grove Study Group #1 — David Harriman, Fred
Everett, Walter Thomson and Leonard Schaumloffel — listened to the Antigonish broadcasts, worked through the material and, in 1938, formed Winnipeg’s first credit union.
Norwood Credit Union would eventually merge with Heritage, which later merged with Co-operators — which was subsequently renamed Cambrian Credit Union in 1986.
The board of Cambrian Credit Union has asked that the $1,000 bursary be awarded to a graduating student from Norwood’s Nelson McIntyre Collegiate who is pursuing post-secondary education and has maintained a good grade point average and demonstrated active involvement and leadership in his or her community or school. The school awarded the bursary to Ms. Jo-Ann Moreira of Winnipeg.
Dave Hughes – nominated by Crocus Credit Union
Dave has been with Crocus Credit Union, which nominated him for this award, for 33 years — the last 32 as General Manager. Over three decades in the system, Dave has served on four committees of CUMIS, the Manitoba Co-op Council board and CUCM’s Equity Task Force and Human Resources and On- Line Advisory committees. Outside the system, Dave has volunteered or been a board/committee member on a wide variety of organizations including Westman Media Co-op, the Canada Winter Games, Big Brothers and Sisters, the Brandon Seniors’ Village, the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee, Brandon Neighbourhood Development Corporation, Downtown Brandon Improvement Association, Lions Manor, the CNIB, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, Pan Am Games, World Curling Championships and Olympic curling trials, Lions International and the Lions/ Habitat for Humanity Coalition. Dave received the Brandon Mayor’s Volunteer of the Year Award in Community Service Work (1999), Lions International’s prestigious Melvin Jones Award (1993) and, in 2004, a Manitoba Co-op Council Distinguished Co-operator Award.
Dave has asked that the $500 bursary go to a Business Marketing student at Assiniboine Community College. The college added 50% to the $500 bursary and awarded $750 to Ms. Lindsay Webber of Brandon.
George Sawatzky – nominated by Niverville Credit Union
George Sawatzky began his career with Niverville Credit Union in 1965 and was made general manager (now CEO) in 1966. He was a member of CUCM’s board from 1982 to 1990, which included four years on the executive committee. Outside the credit union system, George continues long tenures on the boards of Niverville Funeral Aid (a co-operative cemetery), the Manitoba Land Appraisal Commission, Niverville Health & Community Foundation and Niverville Senior Housing Inc. His past activities include service as the President and Secretary Treasurer of both the Niverville Co-op Curling Rink and the Niverville Chamber of Commerce, and as a board member of the Manitoba Lotteries Commission and the Co-op Loans and Loans Guarantee board. George also spent 21 years on the Church Council of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Steinbach — 15 as president, two as vice-president, one as treasurer and three as a deacon. That period included 15 years as a member of the Church Council for the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, 12 of which he served on the executive as treasurer.
George has asked that the $500 bursary go to a student in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba. The faculty awarded the $500 bursary to Ms. Nina Hladio of Winnipeg.
Irvin Wiebe – nominated by Agassiz Credit Union
Nominated by Agassiz Credit Union, Irvin Wiebe served on the board of Morden Credit Union from 1977 to 1985 but is better known in the system as the 10-year chairman of the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) of Manitoba. He was both a system and government appointee over his 13 years on the CUDGC board. Irvin served his profession as a board member and president of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists — and was named a Fellow of the Agriculture Institute of Canada in 1993. He is currently on the Family Farm Business Advisory Board and the Morden Veterinary Services board. His commitment to his wider communities includes being the current chair of the Board of Management of the Manitoba Mennonite Brethren Church Conference, Morden Senior Citizens Home, Pembina Valley Water Co-op, Morden Corn and Apple Committee and past moderator of Westside Community Church. Irvin also serves on the Morden town council as Deputy Mayor.
He has asked that the $500 bursary go to a student in the field of Farm Business Management at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
Bill Halpenny – nominated by Astra Credit Union
Bill Halpenny served the credit union system for 47 years, including five as Astra’s general manager, from 1986 until his retirement in 1990. Following his retirement, Halpenny continued to serve the credit union system, sitting on the boards of both Astra and CUCM. He also sat on the boards of Credit Union Central of Canada, the Canadian Co-operative Association, the Manitoba Co-op Council and the CUMIS Group. For 10 years, Halpenny also served as first vice-president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Fort Garry Rotary Club for nine years. In 2001, he received the Manitoba Co-operative Council Distinguished Co-operator Award.
Mr. Halpenny asked that the $500 scholarship go to a student from Fort Richmond Collegiate’s 2004 graduating class who had performed community volunteer service work.
Wasyl Topolnicky – nominated by Carpathia Credit Union
Wasyl Topolnicky served the Manitoba credit union system for 38 years. A native of Ukraine, Topolnicky came to Canada in 1926 and brought with him a deep interest in — and knowledge of — the co-operative movement. Shortly after his arrival, Topolnicky established Kalyna Co-operative, the first Ukrainian co-operative in Canada. From there, he moved on to establish the first Ukrainian credit union in Canada (Nova Hromada in Saskatchewan), and later helped to found Carpathia Credit Union in Manitoba. Topolnicky went on to help establish six other credit unions in Manitoba.
In his memory, Carpathia’s board of directors asked that the $500 scholarship be awarded to a student at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies.
Henry F. Wiebe – nominated by Heartland Credit Union
Henry F. Wiebe was the long-time mayor of Winkler and served Winkler (Heartland) Credit Union for 35 years. During that time, he spent nine years as a director with Credit Union Central of Manitoba, four years as the president of CUCM and 11 years as a director and the chairman of the Stabilization Fund (now CUDGC). He also served as a director on the Credit Union League board, was a member of the Executive Committee of Credit Union Central of Canada’s board, sat as a member of the Credit Union Executive Society and was the director of the Ethics Committee for the Executive Society.
In his memory, Mr. Wiebe’s family asked that the $500 scholarship be awarded to a student in the Music Therapy program at Canadian Mennonite University. CMU awarded the $500 bursary to Ms. Meredith Gail Daley.retday