Photo by Diane Cox
Midwest Members Credit Union President Greg Lyons and Vice President Louis Bicanic present a donation check to the park and recreation directors for Wood River, East Alton, Bethalto and Roxana on May 23 to help with costs of equipment for youth sports programs. (From left) Stacy John, Debbie Ferry, Debby Eades, Kathy Wilson, Jason Woody, Cheryl Maguire, Louis Bicanic, Frank Akers, Greg Lyons, Fred Slow, Joe Silkwood, Chris Logan and Pat Minogue.
WOOD RIVER — When Wood River Park and Recreation Director Jason Woody researched ways to allow more kids an opportunity to be active through summer ball, seeking help from Midwest Members Credit Union was at the top of the list.
“Midwest Members Credit Union (formerly Shell Credit Union) has always been involved in helping our kids in one way or another,” Woody said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s sports, education or local programs, MMCU is one organization that will find a way to give kids an opportunity that may not have had one before. After their help last Christmas with the Pancake Breakfast, I knew Greg Lyons would be the person to call, but I didn’t imagine it would be this much.”
The credit union donated $15,000 on May 23 to park and recreation directors from Wood River, Roxana, East Alton and the Boys and Girls Club of Bethalto to benefit summer softball and baseball players.
Each female player received a new jersey and softball socks, while the male athletes received a jersey and a team hat. Each of the 52 teams received new catcher’s gear, bats, balls and other equipment.
“We wanted to make sure that any kid who wanted to play had a chance,” East Alton Park and Recreation Director Debbie Ferry said. “We know the players and coaches need certain equipment to play and we don’t want to pass that cost on to parents. We don’t want families to make a choice not to play because they can’t afford it. We want a quality program at a cost that’s affordable for everyone.”
Wood River Mayor Frank Akers and East Alton Mayor Joe Silkwood say they are proud communities are working together to strengthen family programs.
“In situations like this when we work together, the children will always benefit,” Silkwood said. “With this type of community involvement, more kids are receiving more chances and opportunities than if we ran our park and recreation departments separately. We really appreciate business support like what Midwest Members Credit Union offers. Donations like this help keep the cost low for parents while more kids are exposed to as many programs as possible.”
Seeing kids be more active is what it’s all about for credit union President Greg Lyons. Donations to groups such as the local park and recreation departments will keep kids playing sports, learn how to be a teammates and learn important lessons from both winning and losing.
“We were approached about this idea and the board agreed that we wanted to help make these programs more available to the area kids,” Lyons said. “We want to support the area we work in, live in and raise our own families in. We’re very proud to do this for the local park and recreation programs. We are all for looking for ways to help those types of organizations that make a lot of positive impacts in our community.”
This donation isn’t the only way the credit union lends a helping hand. During the Christmas season, MMCU has donated to HOPE, the Community Chest, the Community Christmas Fund and has personally flipped flapjacks for the annual Pancake Breakfast. Local charities, such as Power of the Giraffe, also have benefited from MMCU.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with the park and recreation programs can contact Jason Woody at (618) 251-3130, Chris Logan at (618) 259-7411, Kathy Wilson at (618) 377-6030 and Debbie Ferry at (618) 254-7485. The credit union is at 101 Wesley Drive in Wood River; for information, call (618) 254-0605 or visit shellcuonline.org.