Dallas W. Bergl | CUNA News

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As a young man, I joined the United States Army as an airborne infantryman. I got married just before entering basic training and was making less than $ 900 a month. My duty station was with the US Third Infantry, the “Old Guard”. Living near Washington, DC was as expensive then as it is today, and $ 900 a month was barely enough to pay our rent and car payment, which meant my wife and I often ran out of money. food at the end of the month.

I had been a member of Teachers Credit Union in Indiana since I was young. They were willing to give us a credit card even though we had no credit history. Without this line we would have gone without food on more than one occasion. Teachers Credit Union also helped us reduce our car payment a bit to give us some wiggle room each month. Without our credit union, we would have had a hard time paying our rent and buying basic groceries.

As part of my role in the Old Guard, I was a member of Ronald Regan’s presidential escort. This meant that we were often involved in high profile ceremonies and events throughout the DC area. At one of these events, we held an opening ceremony for a large gathering and the organizers asked the Color Guard members if we would like to stay for dinner. At that time in my life, any free meal was much appreciated, so we accepted.

As I was sitting there that night, I started listening to the presentation. The speaker explained how microcredit is being used in some of the world’s poorest countries to help people without resources buy basic equipment like sewing machines, grinders or hand tools. With these small loans, they were able to start small businesses, feed their families and send their children to school for the first time. When leaving, I waited to see where we were. It turns out it was the World Bank. I was so enthralled by this idea that I started to research everything I could find on the subject. This fascination ultimately led me to get involved with credit unions and my roles within Federal credit union INOVA, on the World Council of Credit Unions board of directors and the Global Foundation. I am so blessed that I was able to make a living doing something that I love.

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