Oregon Credit Union Community Rallies for Ukraine

It’s hard to believe just last summer, there was relative peace in Ukraine, and peace in the hearts of Olena Sheremetyeva’s family. Times were so good, Olena left her Salem, Oregon, home with her seven-year-old son Nicholas for a memorable trip to visit his grandparents in Kyiv.

Now, no days are taken for granted by Olena’s parents, Mykola Semikin and Nataliya Sheremetyeva. They’re staying put in their apartment in Ukraine’s capital city.

“It’s a tough situation every time we talk, because it feels like it could be the last time we may be able to talk,” said Sheremetyeva. “I am so grateful for the neighbors that stayed. One of them installed an app for my parents so they can hear the attack warnings and get to the basement.”

Sheremetyeva, a former credit union employee, is also grateful to the large group of Oregon credit unions that have contributed nearly $70,000 to organizations that are on the ground providing support in Ukraine. One of the contributing credit unions is Central Willamette, where her husband Joey Rudisill is Chief Information Officer.

It’s not the first time the couple has worried about an invasion in her homeland. Her parents lost their former home in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk in 2014, also during a Russian invasion.

“This is the second time they are facing the very real scenario of losing everything again to the same people,” Rudisill said.

Seeing the devastation in Ukraine prompted Aaron Goff, President and CEO of Clackamas Federal Credit Union, to collaborate with other credit unions to pool donations for broader impact.

“It is critical that the global community oppose the atrocities currently happening in Ukraine,” Goff said.  “Oregon credit unions stand together with credit unions around the globe in support of the people of Ukraine.”

Their contributions are supporting two organizations that are directly engaged in charitable and humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Oregon-based Mercy Corps is on the ground in Ukraine, Romania, and Poland, working to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs in the region. The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions’ Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund will provide direct support to mitigate both short and long-term impacts to Ukraine’s credit union system, including employees and consumer members of Ukrainian credit unions.

As of last week, the credit unions had pledged $67,000 to support the people of Ukraine.

Participating credit unions include:

  • Advantis Credit Union
  • Central Willamette Credit Union
  • Clackamas Federal Credit Union
  • Consolidated Community Credit Union
  • First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • Forrit Credit Union
  • Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union
  • Northwest Community Credit Union
  • OnPoint Community Credit Union
  • Oregon Community Credit Union
  • Pacific NW Federal Credit Union
  • Point West Credit Union
  • Rivermark Community Credit Union
  • Trailhead Credit Union
  • Unitus Community Credit Union

In addition to the contributions made by the Oregon credit unions, the Northwest Credit Union Foundation announced a $10,000 contribution to the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund.

“How thankful I am for the NWCUF and the credit unions,” Sheremetyeva said. “It really gives me strength that there is support for my family and friends.”