By Alex Rinfret-It was standing room only at the Queen Charlotte visitor information centre Thursday night as Northern Savings Credit Union honoured Eric Ross for his many years on the board of directors.
Many of the people attending were not even born in 1953, when Mr. Ross began volunteering on the board of the small credit union in Queen Charlotte.
At that time, there were three credit unions on the islands, which ended up merging with one in Prince Rupert to become Kaien Consumers Credit Union. Kaien eventually turned into Northern Savings.
Mr. Ross served on the boards of all three versions of today’s credit union.
Credit union director Richard Forssell, who came over from Prince Rupert especially for the evening, spoke about Mr. Ross’s dedication to the credit union movement and to the people living on the Charlottes.
Back in the 1950s, islanders couldn’t easily cash a cheque off the islands or do other basic transactions taken for granted today, Mr. Forssell said.
That all changed, thanks to the volunteer efforts of people like Mr. Ross.
Mr. Forssell said his grandfather served on the credit union board with Mr. Ross in the 1950s and 60s, and his father served on the board with him in the 1970s and 80s.
Mr. Ross’s experience and wisdom are much appreciated around the board table, Mr. Forssell said.
“He’s an elder stateman,” he said. “He can say, this isn’t new. Hell, we did that back in 1965.”
Mr. Ross, who is stepping down from the board, was presented with a book about Haida Gwaii and a framed picture of whales in honour of his years of service.
Chief executive Mike Tarr said Mr. Ross may be retiring but the credit union will still want his advice.
“This is a momentous occasion for us, and for him,” Mr. Tarr said. “This is not good-bye, I’ve made that clear, but it is certainly a change in the credit union.”
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