News Release: Indiana’s credit unions and League raise funds to build memorial honoring military veterans

April 11, 2018

 INDIANAPOLIS -- Credit unions in Indiana have come together for an initiative that will have a lasting impact for military veterans and their families in the Hoosier state. More than $300,000 was raised by Indiana’s credit unions and the state’s credit union system for the construction of the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame (IMVHOF) Memorial.
 
The memorial, which opened officially on April 5, offers a permanent tribute to the honor brought to the state and nation by the sacrifice of Indiana military veterans and their families. Indiana’s credit unions and their business partners, the Indiana League, and individuals associated with those organizations have all contributed to help construct the building. The memorial is located on the grounds of the American Legion Headquarters in Lawrence, Ind. near the Fort Benjamin Harrison Army Complex. It honors all Hoosier military veterans, and in particular, those who have been inducted into the IMVHOF.
 
Indiana League President John McKenzie represented credit unions statewide at the April 5 ceremony with remarks of praise for all veterans, and he thanked Indiana’s credit unions for making the new facility possible. Kevin Ryan, CEO of Financial Center First CU and Vice Chairman of the IMVHOF organization board, opened the event offering his thoughts and perspectives. Ryan and McKenzie traveled the state last year presenting information at credit union meetings to build support for funding the memorial. They were joined at the ceremony by several dignitaries including U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks and spokespeople for U.S. Reps. Todd Rokita and Jim Banks. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb also was represented along with elected officials from the Indiana General Assembly. IMVHOF Board Chairman Colonel (U.S. Army Retired) Russ Dowden presided over the event. He is a board member of Financial Center First CU. Many credit union supporters were among the 100+ guests at the grand opening ceremony.
 
“It was a great day for veterans and credit unions to celebrate the opening of this facility and see it become a reality,” said Ryan.
 
“Indiana’s credit unions and their leaders support a lot of worthy causes in their communities in addition to serving their members so well,” said McKenzie. “When we asked them to also support this and make it a priority, they came through in a most impressive manner.”
 
The highest contributor level was the “Patriot Level.” There were 73 individuals, credit union organizations, and business partners at that level. For the 34 individuals in that category, the personal donations were $1,000 or higher.
 
Earlier this year, the funding by credit unions and building of the memorial was recognized by the Indiana General Assembly through a Concurrent Resolution. McKenzie and Ryan represented Hoosier credit unions at the Jan. 9 gathering of Indiana legislators, accepting the resolution and offering remarks before the convened House of Representatives. State Representative John Bartlett introduced the resolution, mentioning that, “The Indiana General Assembly expresses its sincere gratitude to Indiana credit unions for providing the funding to build the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame Memorial.”
 
The facility is the only free-standing memorial of its kind in the nation. There are 62 veterans who have been inducted into the IMVHOF and they are from various branches of the armed forces. The induction event is held in November each year. The stories of sacrifice, courage, and heroism about each inductee covered at that event are incredible. The memorial brings greater awareness to more people about these stories and to the sacrifice and service to our country by all veterans.
 
 
 
​Cutting the ribbon to officially open the facility are, from left:
IMVHOF Board Member Dusty Simmons, FCFCU; Joe McLain, representing U.S. Congressman Todd Rokita; IMVHOF Vice Chairman/Indiana League Board Secretary/FCFCU President/CEO Kevin Ryan; Marty Dziegloowicz, Commander, Indiana Department of the American Legion; Senator Joe Donnelly; U.S. Congresswoman Susan Brooks; Mayor of Lawrence, Ind., Steve Collier; IMVHOF Chairman Colonel (U.S. Army Retired) Russ Dowden; James Brown, representing Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb; Indiana State Representative John Bartlett; Indiana League President John McKenzie and IMVHOF Board Secretary Mark Moulton.
The memorial facility is the only free-standing memorial of its kind in the nation.