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5 Days of Giving: Day 2  by Tara

December18

We are back and ready to share with you the next winner in our “5 Days of Giving” Contest!

Congratulations, Kathleen!!!

Did you miss the winner of Day 1? Click here.

5 Days of Giving: Day 1  by Tara

December17

Linn Area Credit Union wanted to put a little jingle-jangle back into your pockets this holiday season! Alas, our “5 Days of Giving” was born. Over a 1,100 people entered to win a chance to unwrap one of five fabulous gift boxes, each containing a gift card of up to $100 and some snazzy Linn Area Credit Union swag. Here is the winner of Day 1… JEFF!

Congratulations, Jeff!

Stay tuned – we’ll be posting one video each day this week!

Didn’t win this time around? Keep your eye on all our social media! We’ll be having another contest soon!

Whiners are weiners!  by Mallory

December12

“Whiners are Wieners” was a recent title of a Survivor: Philippines episode so aptly named by our very own Linn Area Credit Union survivor, Denise Stapley. And Denise is certainly neither.

Let me rewind. We take the TV show Survivor very seriously here at Linn Area Credit Union. Each season, we have a group of employees who make the show into a game. This season, we have 25 people playing! Here’s our fabulous board:

So Linn Areainites were beyond excited to discover that Denise Stapley was selected to be on the show. Denise has been part of our Linn Area family for quite some time and you guys actually voted her the winner in our “My First Ride” contest in 2010 (see her entry here). In fact, True Dork added that very special honor into her bio (go here to see the article). See, she’s already a winner!

I am the (self-appointed) Linn Area Survivor Expert, so I know a thing or two about how things go on this show. I’ve watched every single season and can usually figure out who will ultimately win the game.

Here’s my brief synopsis to catch you up to speed (but be sure to read on to find out about my recent conversation with Denise):

Denise may be tiny, but she is super strong and an excellent competitor (could be thanks to her background and passion for triathlons!). Levelheaded, a hard worker and loyal team player, she possesses all the qualities found in the typical winner of this game. From the very beginning, Denise has been faced with challenges. After arriving at the Philippines, she immediately was placed on a team that continued to lose, and lose, and lose until there were only two people left, including her. But she managed to fight back and win people over with her down to earth and genuine personality. Now here she is in the final 5!

I vividly remember her saying on the way to one tribal council, “Even if Russell and Malcolm vote me out, I still know they are good guys.” That just stuck with me. She gets that it’s a game and is able to be clear-minded enough to see her competitors as real people. So cool! I knew I was a big fan as soon as she said that.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw her come into the credit union after the show had started airing. My very first question was, “Is Malcolm as cute as he looks on TV?!” She laughed and said “Yes!” As soon as that was settled, I could move on to the other millions of questions I had for her. The poor girl was just ambushed by question after question after question by yours truly. I couldn’t help it – I just might be her biggest fan. :o)

One thing Denise was surprised about was how little we really see of what is actually going on. Gotta love EDITING! Of course, she can’t say very much and she gave nothing away. Boo…

I did ask her if she had the “best time” and she simply responded, “It was an experience.”

If – I mean, WHEN Denise makes it to the final three, she will face a jury of her peers, made up of nine contestants from her season that have been voted off. They will choose the victor. I think this is where her impeccable strategy will pay off.

Last week on the show, I believe she said it best (and I’m paraphrasing here), “The jury is looking for someone with a balanced game; someone that can play the mental, social, and physical game.” Denise is doing just that.

Denise, sorry if I’ve embarrassed you. I just can’t contain my excitement! You are a real pleasure to watch and make it easy to cheer for a Cedar Rapids native and a fellow Linn Area Credit Union family member!

Watch Denise tonight at 7:oo PM Central and hopefully on Sunday’s finale!

Based on my expert opinion, I really, really think that we are watching a fellow Cedar Rapidian become the WINNER of this season, people! So if you haven’t been watching, TURN IT ON NOW!

Free money for college!  by Tara

December3

If you are a high school senior, currently in college or continuing your education – this is your chance to snag one of six Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarships! These scholarships are made possible by the good people at Iowa Credit Unions through the Iowa Credit Union Foundation. Here is one important piece of info upfront: Applications are due on Friday, February 1st, 2013, so there’s little room for procrastination (What? Who does that?!?).

There are two different scholarship programs are available:

1. High School Scholarship – Scholarships for high school seniors planning to enter college. The high school scholarships include a first-place prize of $1,500; second place of $1,000; third place of $750 and fourth place of $500.

2. Post-High School Scholarship – Scholarships for post-high school, continuing education students and current college students. The post-high school scholarship category includes two $1,000 scholarships.

Make sure to read all of the scholarship guidelines and follow the application process (go here for more info). It is very important to note that you must be a credit union member in good standing to be considered.

Each applicant is required to answer the following question in no more than 500 words. Essay questions are designed to encourage learning about the credit union movement and its mission.

2013 Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship Essay Question:

Given the fragile state of our national economy, with record unemployment and deficits, describe how having an emergency savings account is more crucial than ever.

How might someone utilize their credit union to focus on saving?

Ready to do this? Of course, you are! These scholarships are going to go to six people – one of them might as well be you! Click here for more information and to fill out the application!

Nom the Mom 2012: Surprising the finalists!  by Tara

May18

Three incredible women. Nearly 300 votes. One winner was determined, but all three were honored. Here’s how it all went down when we surprised each on the finalists on Friday, May 11th:

Judy Brewer
Status: Runner Up

Surprised at: Carlos O’Kelley’s
Co-Conspirator: Elizabeth, her daughter

Judy was already having a fabulous Friday when I came to surprise her. Elizabeth was graduating from college the following day, so Judy’s sister came up for a visit and all the girls planned on doing lunch together followed by a pedicure. Oh la la! I worked with Elizabeth to catch them just after they got seated at Carlos O’Kelley’s. After a series of texts, calls and one really awful parking job, I met Elizabeth outside the restaurant, where she led me to meet the wonderful Judy.

As I approached the table with a gorgeous arrangement of flowers, her mom’s face erupted into a huge smile. I introduced myself and let her know that she was a runner up in our contest. She was extremely grateful and overwhelmed with the honor. Like the selfless mom that we’ve come to know and love, Judy started gushing about how fabulous her daughter is. It was obvious that these two have an incredible relationship.

I didn’t keep the family very long so that they could continue on with the rest of their “girls day,” although I’m certain Judy would have been totally fine if I started sneaking a few chips with salsa and then joined them for a pedi. That’s just the kind of wonderful mama she is!

Karen Brenneman
Status: Runner Up
Surprised at: Her Home
Co-Conspirator: Greg, her son

Surprising Karen was a little bit different. She had taken the day off work, so Greg and I weren’t sure where she would be at any given time. So instead of trying to chase her down, I called to let her know about the little surprise that Linn Area Credit Union wanted to give her. I have to tell you that even after a short convo on the phone, it was easy to tell why she had so many votes of support. Such a sweetheart!

I popped over to Karen’s home in the afternoon and was greeted with a warm smile. She was just as easy to talk to in person as she was on the phone – whew! As we chatted about the contest, Karen started to tell me about how her son Greg can’t keep a secret and told her right away about his story. It was really cute.  8-) As she told me more about her children and how proud she is of them, the tears started coming. Oh man. Even I got a little choked up!

Karen certainly is an amazing woman and we’re so glad that Greg nominated her!

Helen Girard
Status: Winner of the City Looks Salon & Spa Day of Beauty
Surprised at: Truman Elementary
Co-Conspirator: Shirley, her daughter

For the second year in a row, the person your chose as your winner had NO IDEA that she was even nominated. (I swear, I don’t know how people make it happen!) When Shirley heard about the contest, she started to contact not just her own friends and family, but she got in contact with the schools that Helen volunteers at. Many of the votes came from parents and past students whose lives she had touched tremendously. But Shirley didn’t stop there. Nope. She hacked into her mom’s email and managed to get contact info for Helen’s past colleagues and friends from college. Talk about a group effort.

Shirley continued her super stealth moves, determining where her mom would be volunteering that afternoon and then working with that school to allow us the clearance to make the BIG surprise. So at 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon, I pulled into Truman Elementary and waited for the “a-ok” from Shirley. Funny story, as Shirley was arriving at the school, her mom was on the road at the same time. Shirley had to quickly divert to a side street before Helen noticed her!

Once I got the all clear, Shirley and a Truman co-conspirator ushered me to the perfect hiding place off to the side on the gym. Shirley stood with me, shaking with excitement. Literally, the girl was shaking like a leaf. We could hear them bringing in the group of kindergarteners that Helen was working with that day. Helen joined them, none the wiser… cue me and a basket of goodies! (Click here to see the video of how it all went down!)

To say that Helen was shocked is the understatement of the year. In true form, after the initial shock, Helen turned to the group of kids and started to tell them how special each and every one of them are. Sure, her words were directed to the kids that were in the gym at that very moment, but it was clear to me that they applied to every person that she had ever influenced. This woman whole-heartedly believes in the success of the kids, not only in school, but in their home lives as well.

Needless to say, there were lots of tears and hugs.

As we started to give Helen more details about the contest, she was overwhelmed to find out how many people had come out of the woodwork to vote for her. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when Helen reads all the wonderful comments that people left as to why she was deserving of the Day of Beauty. Hopefully there are many boxes of Kleenex available for that tear jerking experience!

Indeed, Helen is very deserving of some pampering and we’re proud that she will reign as our Linn Area Credit Union 2012 Nom the Mom!

We couldn’t be happier that these three women were our 2012 Nom the Mom finalists. What impeccable examples of love, strength and unconditional love. Congratulations goes out to all of them and their families! A big thank you goes out to City Looks Salon & Spa for putting together the gorgeous basket for our winner. And, of course, thanks to all of you who voted!

Nom the Mom 2012: The winner is…  by Tara

May11

After nearly 300 votes for the finalists, I’m excited to give you the woman YOU voted as Linn Area Credit Union’s 2012 Nom the Mom. Check out the video of us surprising her:

Congratulations to our winner and to our other finalists!!! you are all amazing women! Happy Mother’s Day!

Nom the Mom 2012: Meet the finalists!  by Tara

May3

Oh my word! We were overwhelmed by the response we got for our second annual Nom the Mom contest (want to see the pics of some of our nominees? Go here!). I wish that we could have selected ALL of those that were nominated! But *sigh* it just isn’t possible.

So once again, I asked for a volunteer committee of five Linn Area employees to each separately review each entry and then submit their top 3 moms to me. A BIG thank you goes out to Jess (Finance), Liz (Fraud Specialist), Kathy (Collections), Amy (Collections) and Matt (Compliance)! I complied their votes and the top 3 moms emerged to become your finalists in the Nom the Mom contest!

Now YOU have the toughest job of them all – CHOOSING the deserving mom who will win the City Looks Salon & Spa Day of Beauty (info on HOW to vote is right after the three stories).

Are you ready for this? You might want to grab some kleenex first. Okay, I warned you! Here they are, in alphabetical order:

The Mom: Karen Brenneman

Nominated by: Greg (her son)

My mother’s name is Karen Brenneman.  She is the mother of two young men, Greg (24) and Grant (21).  She has been married to my father, Scott, for the past 31 years.  She is a trustworthy, faithful, loving, compassionate, strong willed, dedicated, and most of all patient mother.  She displays all these qualities day in and day out.  Her and my father have worked together nearly their whole lives.  She was born in Cedar Rapids and was moved around as a child.  She was an Kindergarten Teacher for a few years before going into business with my father.  She has been involved in me and my brothers lives tremendously between school and sports.  She loves a good glass of wine and time with friends.

My mother deserves to be nominated because of all her qualities she displays.  She goes to church every sunday and participates in small groups (small group leader), she also helps be the host at are church every 4th Month.  She is a faithful follower of Christ.  As listed about my mother has numerous qualities that stand out but there is one thing my mother is dealing with that a guarantee no other mother is dealing with.  My mother has a medical condition called “Frozen Shoulder.”  It is exactly what it sounds like.  Her shoulder has frozen and she literally can’t completely use her arm.  Her arm is constantly at her side 24 hours a day and has been this way since December.  This condition can last up to 2 years.  She has been going to physical therapy but have not seen any progress yet.  My mother does all the things that mothers typically do.  She cooks, cleans, works, runs errands and mothers the family like a loving mother should.  The best part is she does with one arm.  Her arm will not extend or even go up more than a few degrees.  Her hand its self can’t get much higher than her waist.  Try doing laundry or cooking or trying to carry in groceries.  Even the easiest things like closing your car door has become a chore.  The pain for me and my family is emotional because I can see the pain in my mothers eyes.  There are days she just breaks down due to the frustration of not being able to enjoy life.  She randomly gets shooting pain from her shoulder in her arm and she has to stop everything she is doing till it goes away.  The pain is so intense it brings tears to her eyes and just kills me to see her going through this.

Personally I believe my mother needs a day of rest, relaxation and beauty from her ongoing struggle with her frozen shoulder.  She is a very strong women but after these last 5 months she is due for a little “Women Time.”  Please nominate my mother for this years Mother of the Year … She truly deserves every minute of it.

The Mom: Judy Brewer

Nominated by: Elizabeth (her daughter)

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine – she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.  ~Terri Guillemets

For all my life I knew I wanted to be a mother.  A mother has an everlasting place in their children’s heart and soul.  For this I am sure because this is where my mother is.  She is always with me; in my heart telling me that she loves me; in my soul telling me to be the strong woman she knows I can be; in my ear telling me over the phone everyday how much she misses me; in my mind reminding me to always be the best person I can be; and next to me holding my hand.

My mother lost her parent’s by the age of­­ 20.  I have never heard her complain or become discouraged.  All I hear are great reminders of how amazing her parents were and how proud they would be of the family she has made.  Her parents molded her into the strong woman she has become, and my mother is still molding me into the woman that I am and the woman I want to be.

No matter the stresses and hardships I put my mother through, she cries with me, picks me up, straightens me out, smiles with me, and puts me on the right path.  Most parents can’t wait to have their children move out of the house.  I am 22, finishing college, and living with my parents.  Every single day my mother tells me how God has blessed her with keeping me with her, if just for a few more months.

When the time comes for me to start my career and move away, this will be the time when she will show her true strength.  She will cry.  She will smile.  She will beg for me to stay just one more day.  But she will give me a big hug and a kiss, and slip some money in my hand as I walk away.  She will want me to stay, but she will also encourage me to start the new chapter in my life.  Her heart and words will stay with me as I move on, but she will let me go and grow as an adult and continue to grow until I can be the wife and mother I know her to be.

As I begin the next chapter of my life, I will always remember the words my mother taught me.  To always be kind, helpful, graceful, and loving. Every night as I went to sleep as a child she would whisper in my ear, “I love you forever. I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”. I will always remember these words and they will shape me into the mother I will some day become. I could only hope and pray to become half the woman I know her to be.

The Mom: Helen Girard

Nominated by: Shirley Girard (her daughter)

I would like to nominate my mom, Helen Girard, for the Mother’s Day contest. Why, you ask? Here goes:

My mom, although married for 20 years of her time being a mom, has spent the majority those years as a single parent. My older brother is Autistic, learning disabled, and has a nerve disorder, among other developmental issues. He was diagnosed at age 5 &has had a rough road since then. She spends a considerable amount of her life making sure he is alright. This includes meetings with his supervised living staff, taking him to and from places (he can’t drive), & just making sure he has what he needs.

Growing up, I used to get frustrated sometimes because several of my friends would call the house, my mom would answer, & I wasn’t given the phone until they chatted for several minutes. A few times, they actually called to talk to her. I have several friends who still feel that she was like a mom to them growing up because she cared for them so & was often there for them when even their own family wasn’t. She wasn’t in the best situation at the time but she made the best of it & did what she could.

I too am a single parent. When times get tough, my mom is always there. She has been a very integral part of my life & my son’s life. She took care of him when he was a baby while I worked & went to school full time. Later, she let us move in with her while I finished my education. After living with her for almost 3 years, my son & I were able to get a brand new place of our own, which would have never been possible without her. When I had minor surgery 19 months ago, she stayed at my house for 3 days to take care of my son and to make sure I was taken care of as well. She helps my son with homework, communicates with his teachers to relieve me a bit and strives to make my life & his as great as they can be. She’s always loved me for me, no matter what, & made sure I knew that at all times.

In the recent past, I was unemployed for 4 months & she made sure that I knew she was there to help out in any way she could. In addition to all of the above, she taught for 20+ years in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools where she had a daily impact on children. Even though she’s been retired for 2 years now, she gets graduation invitations & hugs from former students she runs into.

She volunteers on a committee for the Linn County Child Development Center, volunteers at Truman Elementary & Prairie Point. She takes an older friend in poor health to appointments & shopping.

My mom has dealt with a lot throughout the years & often I wonder how she’s done it. She deserves an award for being such an incredibly strong, caring, loving, all around amazing person. As crazy as she makes me sometimes, I’m very proud to call her mom.

Now it’s YOUR turn! We need you to VOTE for the mom you think is the most deserving of the City Looks Salon & Spa Day of Beauty prize.

To vote, leave a comment on this blog post telling us the name of the mom you are voting for and make sure to include WHY you think they deserve to get pampered. (Psst… to vote this way, you have to give us your name and a valid email addy – but no worries! Your email address will not be displayed on the comment and we won’t email you!)

**UPDATE: You have to scroll to the bottom of the blog, waaaay down past everyone else’s comments before the box appears where you can cast your vote!**

Only one vote per person, please! (And, yes, we will be watching IP addresses – so play fair!)

Voting goes until 12:00pm (noon) CST on Thursday, May 10th. The Nom the Mom winner will be announced right here on our blog on Friday, May 11th – just in time for Mother’s Day!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at tbross@linnareacu.org! (Want to see some of the other nominees? Just go here!)

Let the voting begin!

http://www.linnareacu.org/blog/2012/05/03/nom-the-mom-2012-meet-the-finalists/

Contest: Our Family Tree!  by Tara

March15

When did you join our family tree?? Let us know and it could be worth $250 to ya!

The addition of the new Facebook Timeline has caused us to reminisce on our Linn Area past. We would love to see how our family has grown since we first began waaaaay back in 1935! (Click here to check out our Timeline!)

We thought it would be fun to hear YOUR stories and see some pictures of our extended family. Each entry will be put into a drawing. The winner of that drawing will receive $250!

How to Enter

To enter, email the following four items to me (Tara) at tbross@linnareacu.org:

  1. The year you became a member (you can estimate, if you can’t remember back that far!),
  2. a couple sentences talking about why you joined, what you like about Linn Area Credit Union or even share your favorite Linn Area experience,
  3. one picture of you or your family and
  4. your contact info (NOT your account number, please!) so we can let you know if you’ve won the $250!

The Rules

• All entries must be received by tbross@linnareacu.org no later than midnight on Monday, April 9th. The winner will be contacted on Tuesday, April 10th.

• One entry per household.

• Incomplete entries will not be eligible (see the four entry requirements above).

• Your entry must be emailed to tbross@linnareacu.org – no hard copies or other forms of entry will be accepted.

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

• Linn Area Credit Union employees and their immediate families (spouses and children) are encouraged to participate, but are not eligible to win.

• 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, including but not limited to our website, our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Questions? Just shoot me (Tara) an email at tbross@linnareacu.org. WE can’t wait to see all the members of our family tree!

Since we’re chatting about family trees, have you ever dug into your family history? How far back did you go? Tell us below in the comments!

Now THAT’S a Big Check!  by Tara

February16

On behalf of Linn Area Credit Union, I wanted to give a round of applause to Alliant! The Alliant Energy Foundation has given The Teacher Store a generous donation of $1,500. This money will go towards replenishing some of the most popular items in the store, such as Clorox wipes, Kleenex, markers, folders, and backpacks.

On Thursday, January 17th, Leah Rodenberg from the Alliant Energy Foundation stopped by The Teacher Store to present us with the coveted “big check” – and, YES, it actually was a BIG CHECK! She was given the grand tour and was very impressed with how much the store had to offer. (Go here to see some pictures of the Teacher Store.)

“What is this Teacher Store?” you might be asking yourself. The Teacher Store is a non-profit place where teachers can come to get things for their classrooms. We realize that schools cannot afford to supply everything necessary for each classroom and that often means that teachers end up buying things right out of their own pockets.

So in 2008, Linn Area Credit Union joined forces with the Cedar Rapids Education Association to open The Teacher Store, with the goal of providing classroom materials and supplies at no cost to local educators. In fact, the only form of currency accepted at this store is the Teacher Buck. Educators can earn Teacher Bucks in several ways, including by becoming a member of Linn Area Credit Union, being part of the CREA, or even by volunteering at the Teacher Store.

Okay, because YOU are so awesome and a loyal Bloggity Blog reader, we are going to give you a Teacher Buck to print off and give to your favorite educator! Just click on the picture of the blue Teacher Buck  and the picture should appear in its own screen. You can print it off from there, fill it out, and give it to your favorite educator! If you have any trouble, shoot me an email at tbross@linnareacu.org.

So tell us, who was YOUR favorite teacher in school?

Go Team Katie Bug!  by Tara

February10

Meet Katelynn. Katelynn was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes on September 11, 2010. Since then, she has endured approximately 2,325 shots and over 3,720 finger pokes for blood sugar testing. She now wears a pump that continuously gives her insulin. She wears this pump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As Katelynn’s parents Eric and Julie point out, “The pump has changed Katelynn’s life, but it is not a CURE.” 

Over 3 million people live with Type I diabetes every day and that number continues to grow. Katelynn’s family and friends have formed a team (lovingly called Team Katie Bug) to participate in the Walk To Cure Diabetes on February 25th at Westdale Mall. Team Katie Bug is raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which funds research to find a cure for diabetes. The Walk To Cure Diabetes is the largest fundraiser for JDRF. 

Linn Area Credit Union is a very proud sponsor of Team Katie Bug. Their goal is to raise $4,000 and, as of today, they are about 30% of the way! If you would like to help them reach their goal by making a donation to Team Katie Bug, just click here. Remember that donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. One more cool thing – you can use your PayPal account to make the donation through the JDRF website, so it really couldn’t be any easier!

Let’s find the cure!

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