On the Fire Line-Again

Seeing the flames on the news ravaging the New Mexico countryside and park forests  is an unusual event for this scale of catastrophe. Sudden and destructive;  no prior notice.

This brief update yesterday is from Denise Wymore, a coop evangelist:

“It’s been over a decade since New Mexico has experienced a major wildfire.

In June of 2011, a wildfire that would consume over 155,000 acres in New Mexico erupted.  The Las Conchas Fire began around 1pm on June 26, when a gust of wind blew a 75 foot tall aspen into a power line. From that ridge top began the largest wildfire ever in New Mexico. During the first 14 hours, the fire raced eastward, consuming more than 43,000 acres (an acre per second) of forest and destroying dozens of homes.

Today a disaster of similar scope is occurring. The Calf Canyon and Hermit’s Peak fires have combined – burning over 60,000 acres in Northern New Mexico. Today it is only 12% contained with 817 personnel. The cause is unknown at this time.

The three employees of Rincones Presbyterian Credit Union, $5.45 million in assets providing financial services to almost 300 members, in and around Chacon, New Mexico had to evacuate its sole branch location yesterday.

Guadalupe Credit Union, founded in 1948 by Father Ed McCarthy to serve the parishioners of Guadalupe Church in Santa Fe, NM stepped up. They offered space for the staff of Rincones Presbyterian in their Taos and Las Vegas, NM locations.

Remembering a Prior Emergency

This isn’t the first time credit unions in New Mexico have helped each other during wildfires. The  Las Conchas Fire in 2011 caused the entire town of Los Alamos to evacuate for a week.

The Los Alamos School Employees Credit Union was able to “keep their doors open” with the help of Del Norte Credit Union in Santa Fe. Del Norte (DNCU) served the Los Alamos National Laboratory Employees. Matt Schmidt, Los Alamos School Employees CU CEO remembers his relocation at that time:

Del Norte provided a conference room off the main lobby to setup our servers, computers and printers.  Kim Currie with DNCU met me after hours to open the branch doors and help unload our office equipment. My dog, also an evacuee, watched from the truck.   That moment personified the meaning of “credit union movement.” I felt supported and cared for in a time when the future was uncertain.”

To assist  credit unions like Rincones maintain member service, contact Denise Wymore, Marketing Manger, Qcash Financial at 503-805-4424, or dwymore@qcashfinancial.com.





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