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The Salvation Army gets Frank-a-fied!  by Mallory


Linn Area Credit Union took on the challenge to man a Salvation Army bucket for a full day on Tuesday. I kicked off the day with my trusty partner Beth. We rang the bell for 2 hours in the morning. Believe it or not, we even got a little too toasty in our hats and gloves. (Side note: This is the first year I haven’t been freezing the whole time!)

The donations started out slow, but things really started to pick up as time went on. Beth actually had to help a lady shove a whole envelope full of cash into the bucket! We had some great interactions with people and it was especially fun when they let their kids donate. Many little ones put one coin in at a time to make the experience last. Seeing the little kids get incredibly excited to put money in the bucket was really cute! It just made us smile!

But the fun really got started when Beth and I took our late shift starting at 6 pm. It had just started raining, but it was still kind of warm out (for December at least). I decided to let my dog Frank join us – don’t worry, he had a jacket and a chair. Frank was a hit! The Salvation Army might owe him a bone for Christmas because he brought over lots of people. I think the adults were just as taken with Frank as the kids were. One lady even went inside and bought Frank a treat!

This is the season where it can be frustrating just to run to the store to get milk because people are everywhere. Although people are supposed to be filled with Christmas cheer, we all know that doesn’t seem to be the case while waiting in the mile long line and getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I have to say that ringing the bell for 4 hours yesterday was extremely satisfying because I got to see the good in people over and over again. Whether they could give an envelope full of money or just their spare change, it was great to see people in the giving spirit. Even if they were unable to donate, many people still smiled and greeted us, which was so appreciated!

A huge thanks goes to all the people I met yesterday. Your generosity has truly gotten me into the holiday spirit!

Linn Area Credit Union would like to thank the following fabulous employees for ringing the bell on our behalf: Beth, Matt, Amy, Jolayne, Jessie, Tracy N., Joannie and, of course, Mallory and Frank!

Welcome Home, Andrea!  by Tara


We are ecstatic to announce that our very own hero, Andrea Brandon, has returned from Afghanistan after a year-long deployment! On Saturday, August 6th, Andrea was welcomed home in an emotional ceremony at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. 

We are thrilled that Andrea will be returning to her Linn Area Credit Union family at some point this year. You can look forward to hearing her voice again when you call into Member Services needing help! 

Andrea, we are all so proud of you! Welcome home! 

Now is the time we’d like to show Andrea how much love and support she has! In the comments below, feel free to leave her a message!

Conquer The Corridor  by Tara


“Ugh… there’s just nothing to DO around here!” 

A familiar whine to many. Whether you are new to Cedar Rapids or if you’ve lived here your entire life, there is now a movement to let you know just how much fun can be had within the Corridor! Kari and Quinn from Conquer the Corridor visited with the staff of Linn Area Credit Union to make us aware of this program and remind this group of Cedar Rapidians that we may be missing out on some really cool stuff! 

For example, did you know that from the first week of May through September there is a festival going on almost every weekend??  Go here for the full list. 

I know one complaint that I’ll admit to spouting off is my desire for something new and different to eat. (Sure, this could be because I’m pregnant…) I was super excited to see a list of places to eat around the Corridor! There are some places on this list that I had never heard of and others that I had plum forgotten about! Needless to say, this realization has opened up a whole bunch of new options. Click here for the tasty list!

Looking for something to do on a specific day or night? The most extensive list of events, festivals, yadda yadda can be found here, on the Cultural Corridor’s website. There really is something for everyone on there!

So get to clicking on these links and find something fun for your family to do today! 

Tell us in the comments below: Do you have a hidden gem of a restaurant or store, etc. that you like to go to that others may not know about?

Contest: My First Ride  by Tara


Congratulations, loyal Linn Area fans! You made it through one of the hottest weeks we’ve ever had! We think it’s time to focus on something besides the heat wave!

To celebrate this summer’s amazing auto rates and the vehicles we LOVE, we want to hear all about YOUR very first car! Come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one that has some pretty fond memories of my first ride. Was yours a piece of junk like mine or were you one of the lucky ones that was gifted a brand new, shiny car?? 

We know you’d love to reminisce about that first car just for fun…  so we’re going to start a contest to make it worth your time! Just by telling us a fun story about that very first car of yours, you could win a $200 gift card (there are prizes for the runners up, too)! Check out all the deets on our “My First Ride” contest: 

How to Enter:

• To enter, email a fun story about your first car (500 words or less, please!). Don’t forget to tell us the make and model of the car. Oh, and HOW did you pay for it?? Of course, we’d LOVE to hear that you got your loan through Linn Area!) We will also consider video entries that are 3 minutes or less. The more creative, the better!

• Make sure to attach a picture of the car (if you don’t have one because your car went kaput before you ever had a picture taken, try to find one similar out on the internet!)

• All entries must be emailed to With your submission, be sure to include all of your contact information. You’ll receive an email back letting you know that we’ve received your entry.

• DO NOT submit your entry on Facebook.

• All entries must be received by no later than midnight on Sunday, August 7th

• On Tuesday, August 9th, the top 3 submissions (as selected by Linn Area Credit Union) will be announced on our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

• Area residents will then be able to begin voting for their favorite story immediately on our blog! The entry that receives the most votes will win the grand prize of $200 (2nd place receives $50 and 3rd place receives $25).

• The winning entry will be announced on our blog on Monday, August 15th.


The Rules:

• Entries received after midnight on Sunday, August 7th will not be considered (only one entry per person).

• All people that enter must live in Linn or surrounding counties.

• You do not have to be a member of Linn Area Credit Union to enter.

• Linn Area Credit Union employees and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings, spouses) are not eligible to enter.

• No purchase necessary.

• By submitting an entry, you are giving permission for Linn Area Credit Union to use your name, picture and submission for promotional and advertising purposes.

Nom the Mom: Day of Beauty  by Tara


The woman you chose as your Nom the Mom winner, Amber Nietert , finally got her chance to get pampered. Since so many of you got out there to vote, we thought that you’d like the follow up on Amber, her family and her City Looks Day of Beauty. 

If you’ll remember, Amber is the mom of two little boys. One of the boys, Brekin, has a heart condition. (For the full story, go here or to see how we surprised Amber, check out the video at the very bottom of this post!) He had another surgery in mid-June and I’m proud to report that he is doing exceptionally well! In fact, his doctor has officially cleared him to run, jump and even swim – all those things that little boys LOVE to do! (Amber said that it’s so hard to tell your 3 year old son that he can’t ride his bike when he so desperately wants to!) 

Now that Brekin is on the mend, Amber finally had a chance to focus on herself for one day. On Friday, I met Amber at the Westdale location of City Looks for her Day of Beauty. She was extremely excited! To make things even better, that particular evening she and her husband, Joe, were heading out on the town to celebrate their 6 year anniversary. Perfect timing! 

The day started off with a relaxing facial, something Amber had never tried before and absolutely adored! Next, the girls at City Looks turned their focus to Amber’s fingers and toes, giving her a fabulous manicure AND pedicure (Heaven!). After her mootsies (yeah, I made that word up) and tootsies were perfectly polished, the City Looks team turned their attention to Amber’s hair. One tiny French braid and lots of curls later, our Nom the Mom winner was ready for the last leg of her pampering experience – make up! And, let me tell you, she looked awesome! Sure, she was gorgeous before, but after a day of beauty at City Looks, Amber was simply “WOWZA”!!! 

Go here to see all the pictures of Amber’s big day of beauty.

When we chatted after it was all done, Amber said that she almost didn’t want the Day of Beauty to end! (Well, who could blame her?!) But she was definitely looking forward to hitting the town with Joe.

Thanks again to Amber and to the lovely people at City Looks for making this happen! 

So now how are we going to top this next year…?!?!?!

Get your glow on!  by Tara


We are big believers in family traditions. Every year we share one of our favorite Linn Area family traditions with our community – the Balloon Glow. This well-known event is part of Freedom Festival (it’s our favorite part, but we’re a little biased!). Heck, nearly 14,000 people enjoyed it last year alone! 

For the 13th year in a row, we are the sponsors of this FREE family evening. Do note that it’s only FREE with your Freedom Festival button – although kids 5 and under do not need to have a button. Balloon Glow will be held this Tuesday, June 28th at Brucemore. Gates open at 6:00 pm. Additional details can be found here (parking, shuttle buses, etc.). 

To say that this event “is for young and old alike” may sound super cheesy, but it’s the honest to goodness truth! I remember going on one of my first dates with my now husband to Balloon Glow! I packed us a picnic basket full of yummy treats and some choice beverages and away we went for a lovely evening of music and picturesque views. 

And I can’t even explain to you how much the kids LOVE this event. Whether it’s running up for their 5th Linn Area hot air balloon tattoo, grooving along to the music or ohh-ing and aww-ing over the hot air balloons, kids totally dig this family night out. 

This year you’ll be entertained by the funktastic sounds of the FunkDaddies. I couldn’t resist checking out their website, which led me to their song list. From The Commodore’s classic hit “Brick House” to “Smooth” by Santana, their grooves offer a little somethin’ somethin’ for everyone out there! (I’m personally dying to know what “The Chicken” sounds like!) See if your favorite song is on the list here or check out one of their videos here

Don’t forget to say hi to all the familiar Linn Area faces as you come in through the entrances! We’ll be the ones putting the hot air balloon tattoos on all willing participants! Around 40 of us will be there that night – even some of our very own family members will be lending a hand, as well! 

Oh, and keep your eyes open for me, Tara, as I’ll be the extremely pregnant one wandering around asking if I can take your family’s pic for our Facebook page! :o) Make sure you say hello and get your picture taken! 

What’s your favorite Balloon Glow Memory? Tell us below!

And the winner of our Father’s Day contest is…  by Tara


We are very pleased to have randomly selected the winner of our Father’s Day Contest! Before we announce who won the $200 Atira gift card, we’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to tell us about their fathers!  We received so many entries and certainly enjoyed reading all about the rock star dads that were nominated for this contest. Unfortunately, there could only be ONE winner. Everyone that entered the contest was placed into the drawing.

Last night the VP of Human Resources at Linn Area Credit Union drew the winning name – which was Brian Johnson’s entry about his inspiring father, Rob Johnson. (It should be noted that he was also nominated by another of his sons, Lee!) 

Rob and his son Brian just stopped by the Blairs Ferry branch to pick up his Father’s Day prize. It was so fun chatting with them! I found out that Rob and his wife, Diane, have been part of the Linn Area family for nearly 30 years (which definitely wasn’t a requirement for this contest – it just worked out this way!). All three of their sons (Brian, Lee, and Luke) followed in their footsteps, beginning with Kirby Kangaroo accounts and have continued bringing their business to us. 

In fact, on the drive over, he and Brian were having a laugh over memories of the Kirby days. Rob’s rule was that whatever money the kids got, they could spend half, but the other half had to go straight into their Kirby account. Brian said that learning this early on actually transferred into his adult life. 

Rob was ridiculously flattered that he was nominated by his sons. I think the fact that two of his adult sons took the time to very thoughtfully write about how inspirational he’s been says a lot about what a great dad he is. (See their entries below.) 

How will he spend his big gift card? He’s taking a big trip in the fall to Colorado and will most likely use the money to do something fun there! (Excellent choice!) 

A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Rob! Not a bad way to kick off Father’s Day! :) (Below are the original entries by both Brian and Lee!)

Brian: I thank my father for inspiring my love of many things – including cycling. It is amazing to have him join me through part of RAGBRAI. He is supportive in all my activities throughout life and been powerful model of how to live my life.  Seeing this photo always makes me smile. This one’s for you Dad.


Lee: My father, Rob Johnson, is one of the most caring, positive and empathetic individuals imaginable.  Besides unquestionably supporting our family Rob started Lamba, The Linn Area Mountain Bike Association –, to freely share his zest for existence with all Iowans.  Through education and countless hours of volunteer work this man has single handedly promoted optimism and creativity to worlds of students, strangers, and friends.

Father’s Day Contest!  by Tara


With Father’s Day just around the corner we are ready to celebrate those goofy gents in our lives. That’s right – the spotlight has now shifted to you, proud papas! Hey, we’re all about family at Linn Area Credit Union so we couldn’t let this momentous day slip past us!

This contest is going to be rather simple – just post a picture of your favorite dad (your dad, your grandpa, your honey, your neighbor, your co-worker) and tell us in one or two sentences why he’s the best! The winning dad will get a $200 Atira gift card to spend however he chooses!

Enter one of three ways:

1) Go to our Facebook page (here) and upload a picture of your favorite dad. Be sure to tell us why he is the best when you upload the pic!

2) Upload a pic of your fave dad to your Twitter account and include @LinnAreaCU when telling us why he rocks!

3) Email the picture of your favorite father to along with a few words as to why this papa is simply the best. (You will receive an email back to confirm we’ve received the picture.)

The rules:

1) One entry per person. (Although one dad can be entered by more than one person. See rule #2.)

2) There can be no duplicates of pictures, even if they come from different people.

3) Pictures must be appropriate or they will be disqualified.

4) The dad that is entered MUST live in Linn or surrounding counties.

5) You do not have to be a member of Linn Area Credit Union to enter or to win.

6) Linn Area employees and their immediate families are not eligible to win, but they are still welcome to post pictures!

7) All entries must be received no later than 5:00pm on Thursday, June 16th.

8) Once an entry is submitted, the submitters name will be written down and placed into a drawing.

9) The winning entry submitter will be contacted on Thursday, June 16th to get contact info for the winning dad. The winner of the drawing will be notified in the same way they submitted their entry (eg. If you submitted via Facebook, you’ll be contacted via Facebook message. If you submit by email, you will be contacted by email.). Once contacted, we must hear back from the entry submitter by noon on Friday, June 17th. If we have not heard from the submitter by that time, a new winner will be drawn.

10) As soon as a winner is verified, we will announce it on the blog!

11) No purchase necessary.

Now go find those fun pictures of your favorite dad and get to posting!!!

Kicking Off Summer!  by Tara


Summer is crazy busy for families, and it’s no different for your Linn Area Credit Union family! Our motto “We Are Family” is very telling of the types of events that we have lined up for the blazing hot summer of 2011! We’ll keep you guys updated on these family friendly events right here on the blog, Facebook and Twitter – so keep your eyes peeled! 

Now we KNOW that most of you have seen our colorful Linn Area Credit Union hot air balloon either soaring in the sky or as part of the Balloon Glow at Brucemore. But did you know that our balloon is also part of Tanager Place’s Summer Fest? Indeed, it is! 

Kick off your summer with a FREE family festival for Tanager Place. Join in the fun TOMORROW (Saturday, June 4th) at the 21st annual Summer Fest located at the Rockwell Collins Sports Complex (F Avenue and Collins Road NE) from 3:30 to 8:30 pm. 

This event is so much fun for the whole family! With over 75 FREE activities, there’s something for everyone! Go to the General Mills Make your Own Cereal Tent or swing over to the Video Gaming Area to try your hand at some cool video games. Don’t forget to play a little mini-golf or check out all of the really cool collector cars! There is even an entire tent dedicated to kids’ crafts! 

Saving the best for last (or so WE like to think!), the event concludes with a balloon glow. We’d LOVE it if you scoped out the Linn Area balloon and got your picture taken by it! Feel free to send the picture to us or post it to our Facebook page! 

Keep your eyes open for some familiar Linn Area Credit Union faces, as many of us will be volunteering that day! We hope to see you there as we help kick off the summer of 2011!

Congrats to Ms. Rasmussen!  by Tara


Last month for Teacher Appreciation Week, Linn Area Credit Union sponsored a celebration for teachers at the Teacher Store. Shoppers had the opportunity to sign up to win a party for their classroom or school. This year’s lucky winner was Becky Rasmussen, a special education teacher from Kenwood Elementary! 

Linn Area lets the winning teacher choose what type of party to have. In the past, we’ve provided ice cream parties and popsicles for the whole school, but Ms. Rasmussen went a different route. This morning, fourteen kids loaded the bus from Kenwood and were shuttled to one of the most fun places in Cedar Rapids – the PlayStation! 

I had the pleasure of joining our Business Development Manager, Lori Vana, to visit this rocking party and, boy, did it ever look like these kids were having fun! Excitement was in the air as the kids agilely navigated the enormous indoor jungle gym. My favorite part? The ball pit. Some kids were taking turns covering each other up. Other kids turned their focus to sailing down one of the many fun and squiggly slides. 

We left as lunch was served. These kiddos were dining on some tasty chips and chicken nuggets with a dash of pop to wash it all down. Everyone looked like they were having a blast, including Ms. Rasmussen who wasn’t shy about crawling around the jungle gym with the kids. 

A big congratulations to Ms. Rasmussen! We know that teachers have a tough job, so we truly appreciate all that you do! Thanks for letting us be part of your fun party!

To see more pictures from the party, go to our Facebook page or just click here!

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