For his long-time work and commitment to the credit union industry, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues recently named Vernon Elliott the 2013 recipient of the Unsung Hero Award. The award honors deserving individuals within the credit union industry with at least 20 years of service who also have made significant contributions in the community.
Richard Myles Johnson—who has known Elliott since they were in the Marines in the early 1970s and who led him into a career in the industry—presented Elliott with the award October 18, 2013 at the Leagues’ Ontario, CA offices. Attending the presentation were his wife, Marilyn, and daughter Courtnay Lynch, vice president of human resources for Xceed Financial Federal Credit Union in El Segundo, as well as Lucy Ito, Leagues executive vice president and COO, and Susan Conjurski, League Awards Committee chairman and CEO of Printing Industries Credit Union.
In his presentation, Johnson noted how he was able to convince Elliott “that working with credit unions was a noble profession and his skills with serving and managing people would serve us well and keep him out of trouble in this strange civilian world. He agreed and a friend of mine, another retired marine, hired him to run one of their branches. It was soon recognized Vern was a valuable asset to this credit union movement. He was sought after to work in ever increasing responsible positions in a variety of positions.”
Among the many credit unions he served throughout his career were San Diego County Credit Union (his first credit union job), TRW Systems Credit Union, Cal Bear Credit Union, Tiger Federal Credit Union, Western Credit Union, Raincross Credit Union, and Pacific Community Credit Union (from where he retired in 2009).
“I’ve enjoyed all of my 36-plus years in the credit union industry,” Elliot said upon receiving the award. “And I’m proud of my daughter, who is carrying on the tradition.”
In addition to Elliott’s work with various credit unions, he also worked for the California Credit Union League trying to trying to sell the idea of a credit union ATM network—now known as the CO-OP network. He served on the Operations Committee for Financial Service Centers Cooperative when the company was first established as well as the League’s Assembly/board of directors, CUNA board, and CO-OP Financial Services board.
And during Johnson’s time at WesCorp, he recommended Elliott run for its Credit Committee. He served for two years; the second year as chairman. After that, he served on the WesCorp Board of Directors; he was chairman his last two years on the board.
He took an early retirement in 1994, but was back just six months later. He retired for good in October 2009. After this second retirement, he did some work for Richards and Associates CPAs conducting audits for various credit unions.
The Unsung Hero Award, established by the Leagues’ Historical Preservation Committee, is now coordinated by the League Awards Committee.