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|Graduates of the Winter 2015 CU Development Educators Training stand with training staff at the American Airlines Training & Conference Center in Dallas, Texas.|
|L-R: Xceed Financial FCU VP of Human Resources Courtnay Lynch; her father and 2013 California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Unsung Hero Award recipient Vernon Elliott; longtime credit union leader Richard Myles Johnson; Leagues EVP and COO Lucy Ito; and League Awards Committee Chairman and Printing Industries CU CEO Susan Conjurski|
Credit union icon Richard Myles Johnson—who has known Elliott since they were in the Marines in the early 1970s and who led him to a career in the industry—presented Elliott with the award on Oct. 18 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 FCU, as well as Lucy Ito, EVP and COO of the Leagues, and Susan Conjurski, League Awards Committee chairman and CEO of Printing Industries CU.
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."
Johnson added: "He agreed, and a friend of mine, another retired marine, hired him to run one of their branches. It was soon recognized that 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 CU (his first credit union job), TRW Systems CU, Cal Bear CU, Tiger FCU, Western CU, Raincross CU, and Pacific Community CU (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 service at various credit unions, he also worked with 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, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) board, and CO-OP Financial Services board.
During Johnson’s time at WesCorp, he recommended Elliott run for the corporate credit union's credit committee. He served for two years—the second year as chairman. After that, he served on the WesCorp Board of Directors, where he was chairman his last two years.
He took an early retirement in 1994, but was back six months later. His final retirement was in October 2009. Afterward, he completed 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.