In 1954 a group of forward thinking people came together to establish Fairchild Federal Credit Union. They could have started a bank, or some other for-profit organization, but they saw that a credit union provided a service to the greater community of Fairchild Air Force Base. Community service was a part of our philosophy from the very beginning and one of those forward thinking people was Gene La Liberte. He passed away in February of 2011.

There are a few people at Global Credit Union who had the opportunity to work with him. And there are a lot of people in the Spokane community who knew him. He is remembered for many things: he could whistle with perfect pitch, he was always smiling and more interestingly he would wear this vest of jingle bells at Christmas time that you could hear coming from far, far away. And he was always giving out freshly baked doughnuts and bread.

After he retired from Fairchild in 1973 he went to work for the Credit Union. This would not be his first time he would work through retirement. Sometime in the late 70s he began volunteering at the Spokane International Airport. He traded in the jingle bell vest for a Santa suit greeting weary holiday travelers on Christmas Eve. He did this for 32 years, only his failing health could stop him.

Also in the 70s he became friends with Mr. Strick of Strick’s Doughnuts. Somehow they struck a deal that Gene would come in once a week, as a volunteer, to make doughnuts and he could give away as many as he could make. Mr. Strick may not have been aware of how industrious Mr. La Liberte was. Nevertheless, for 20 years he went to Strick’s Doughnut shop every Tuesday morning from 1 am to 6:30 am to make doughnuts which he then delivered to the local Children’s Hospital, the base hospital and nursing homes. Every week for 20 years.

After retiring for the 2nd time, this time from Global Credit Union, he joined the senior volunteers program at the Spokane Police Department. During his tenure there he became the Director of the program and logged over 40,000 hours of volunteer time. He used to win an award nearly every year for putting in more than 2000 hours during the year.

He knew that service to the community really does make a difference and it makes life better. Global knows this too. That’s why the Credit Union has a long history of giving back to the community.

A lot of people knew Mr. La Liberte because of the time he spent volunteering for the community. Yet, many of them did not realize how much he did. Many of Global's employees are the same - out there quietly volunteering their time for a variety of worthy organizations. They don’t do it to get rich or win awards, they do it because it makes a difference. It makes the community better and Global wants to recognize this. So, in honor of one of their founders who gave so much to his community, they honor those employees who go above and beyond as a volunteer with the La Liberte Community Excellence Award.