by Michael V. Beall, CEO (Click hyperlink for Mike's bio)
Life and the Governmental Affairs Conference
Tributes to Don Beall and Chris DeWitt
CUNA held its annual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) last week, and for the first time in decades it was NOT held at the Washington Hilton. Everything changes, and the conference made the move to the bigger, brighter DC convention center. It was fantastic, yet I found myself a little bit reflective of times past at the Hilton, and was taken back a bit into my own family memories of the old venue.
GAC was time that I got to come to several years’ worth of events with my Dad, Don Beall. Many of you knew my father and his work at NASA FCU until his death on June 4, 1991. 17 years ago – it hardly seems possible. He always made a big deal about the GAC and my reaction to it changed over the years.
As a younger boy, I found the trips to the Capitol and offices of members of Congress to be exciting. It whetted my first appetite for politics and the law. I always wanted to be a lawyer growing up, and these early trips to Congress focused me on this aspiration. As a teenager I rolled my eyes at my Dad’s enthusiasm for the battles of credit unions such as obtaining the ability to offer checking accounts. Later, in 1991, I had lunch with him at the Hilton the February before he died to deliver resumes that he could pass out to friends and colleagues – he wanted to be sure I GOT a job, and that it was in credit unions.
So, this year as I led a delegation of British CU representatives around GAC as part of our partnership, I listened as they talked about fighting the same CU fight to be able to offer checking accounts. The more things change the more they stay the same. And I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to have had my Dad meet me for lunch at the GAC as a retiree and provide advice on all the latest legislative maneuvers to be contemplated for our CURIA bill.
On my return back to the office I received an e-mail from Charlie DeWitt, the husband of Chris DeWitt, formerly VP of Operations for COMSTAR FCU. Christine passed away after a fight against breast cancer on September 11, 2007. Charlie was providing me a link to the blog about Christine’s battle with cancer that has also turned into a blog on life after her passing.
Check out the blog at http://chris-dewitt-updates.blogspot.com/
I didn’t know Chris well. I actually came to know her when she was nominated for and won MDDCCUA’s Professional of the Year in 2005. She was a very determined lady in her fight, and well loved by her family and credit union friends. And, as often happens, I made the connection between what Charlie and his family are going through in their first year of loss. For me, its been lots of years since losing my Dad, but I still miss him, and still wish that he could be here to see where credit unions are fighting the good fight on lots of issues.
Seeing her pictures on the blogspot reminded me of the moment we were together onstage as she received her award. She was so very proud that day.
Each one of us has loved ones and friends in this credit union movement that have passed away. Today, take a minute and remember someone at your credit union that is no longer with us, and help the next member with the enthusiasm of the person you miss. I will be using that passion for our next MDDCCUA meetings with Senators Cardin and Mikulski to get them on the new Senate version of CURIA. I know my Dad would have been fighting away for the legislation if he were here.