Bernie Hurley bounds into the Wheaton Branch Office with the same exuberance that inspired him and 11 other educators to lay the foundation for the future DuPage Credit Union 60 years ago.
Decked in green and white, wearing an effervescent smile and with a twinkle in his eyes, the quick-witted Hurley is on hand to be recognized as our First Quarter Inspiring Member, an honor he earned for his six decades of enthusiastic dedication and service to the Credit Union.As part of our yearlong 60th Anniversary celebration, each quarter DuPage Credit Union Team Members will submit the names of Members who have inspired and energized them. President Diane Shelton will then select the name of one Member whose dedication, advocacy or warm personality embodies our common spirit.
“When we (DuPage Credit Union) came up with our new brand (Banking Inspired) last year,” said Star Dieter, Card Services Manager, “It just made sense that we should recognize the Members who have inspired us. And to me no one exemplifies the Credit Union’s philosophy more than Bernie.”
After serving in the Army during World War II and teaching at the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School, the always-jovial Hurley, a native of Rhode Island, began his teaching career in Wheaton in 1953.
While a physical education teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School, he and 11 other educators decided to form a Credit Union on February 15, 1956.
Reminiscing about the Credit Union’s humble beginnings in a large closet at Wheaton Community High School, he stated they simply gathered together to help teachers. “Everybody should help teachers. Most people remember their teachers.”
As he held an engaged audience of Members and Team Members alike at the Wheaton Brand Office, Hurley spouted off 60 years of Credit Union history without hesitation while being presented his award – as if he were still teaching a classroom full of students.
“I get enthusiastic about everything,” he said with a hearty laugh.
During his tenure on our volunteer Board of Directors, Hurley served on the Supervisory Committee, “to make sure we were able to pay our bills,” he said with a wink.
But his favorite memories take him back to the early days of the Credit Union. “I think of that little closet where we started…fixing the roof on Illinois Street (former Branch Office). Lots of good memories, lots of good people.”
Retirement has not slowed Bernie down as he continues to champion the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” by volunteering and by just being Bernie. “I like to help everyone,” he said.
“Everybody knows him and loves talking with him,” added Dieter, a Team Member for over 35 years.
Bernie’s grandson, Steve Hurley, was also on hand for the honor.
“He is nothing short of being a character and a half,” said Steve. “We can go anywhere in Wheaton…everybody knows who Bernie is. And everybody is better off knowing who Bernie is.”
Bernie’s dedication to DuPage Credit Union has been passed down to Steve, who recently became a Teller at the Downers Grove Branch.
“It’s crazy to think that I am carrying on some kind of legacy,” Steve said. “It’s just a really cool idea to think how I serendipitously fell into the roll and the fact that he (Bernie) is a founding Member…to look back on the Credit Union’s history and to know I have a family heritage is something unique.”
As an Inspiring Member, Bernie was awarded a $160 Visa® Gift Card for himself and a $60 gift card to Pay It Forward. Upon receiving the gift cards, he generously donated the $60 gift card back to the Credit Union to be used in our third annual We’ve Got Your Back backpack fundraiser to assist DuPage County students in need.
His big-hearted donation will help three students begin the school year with the essential school supplies needed to achieve success in the classroom and build a strong academic foundation. Once a teacher, always a teacher – continuing to inspire students of all ages.
“A lot of people remember their teachers, do you?” asked Hurley, causing everyone to pause and reflect.
Thank you Mr. Hurley, for inspiring thousands of students, Members and our Team for over six decades.