2022 Awards of Excellence - John Richardson
Volunteer of the Year
Franklin First has been fortunate in that our Board of Directors has been served by a group of individuals who genuinely have a desire to help our credit union do the very best we can. But when this nomination request came, there was one Board Member that shined brightest in the past year and we wanted to take the opportunity to nominate him and recognize their dedication to the Board, the Staff of Franklin First, and more importantly the community of Franklin County, MA.
John Richardson began his service to the Credit Union as a volunteer on our Board of Directors in April 2020. Initially he served as a Board Member, and later was appointed to and currently serves as our Security Officer, a role that we are very grateful to have him serving in – as I will explain.
As many volunteers, John also works full-time; he is a Sergeant for the Town of Bernardston Police Department and operates a Self-Defense training program in his free time.
In his role as Sergeant, he is actively engaged in the community and helps organize and run community events such as the Bike Rodeo held at the Bernardston Elementary School annually to make sure children in the community have proper helmets to ride safely, and even brings in services to help tune up bikes to make sure the bikes are safe for them to ride. The helmets and additional services are all provided at no cost to those who participate. Additionally, he is a part of the annual Toys drive that helps to collect toys for children during the holidays and ensures that they are distributed locally. He is a friendly face in the community and is always willing to help wherever he can.
As a Board Member he has been actively engaged from the beginning, and his commitment to the credit union clear. He is an advocate for the credit union in the community, for example with his involvement with the Bike Rodeo previously mentioned, he has been able to connect credit union with the event and position the credit union in the community in an area that we otherwise did not have a presence. For the past two years since his involvement with the Board we have been able to connect with members, and non-members alike at this community event and provide financial education and awareness that otherwise would have been a missed opportunity. Through my own discussions with John, I can say that he is always eager to think of ways to help facilitate engagement in the community for the credit union to generate awareness. Additionally, he has been assisting the credit union with identifying ideal locations for new ATMs in the community and helping to make connections with local officials and business owners whenever possible to help move this strategic plan forward.
But the shining example of his commitment to the credit union was shown on January 27, 2022. On that date, for the first time in 20 years Franklin First FCU was robbed by the individual dubbed the “I-91 Bandit.” That evening, we reached out to John as our Security Officer to inform him of what was going on at the credit union. Without hesitation John jumped into action to help in any way that he could – as law enforcement himself he was allowed to enter the building and came bearing food, and coffee for what undoubtedly was to be a long night. But it wasn’t only the welcomed treats that he brought, he brought comfort too. That evening he spent his free time sitting with us and helped us process the events that had just unfolded. His familiar, and friendly presence helped in more ways than one that evening and for that I am forever grateful. In the days that followed he continued to check up on us, letting us know that he was there to help in any way he could. His knowledge as a member of the law enforcement in our community helped us to understand what was going on. While we received an outpouring of support from our credit union colleagues, on that night it was Johns support that made the biggest impact.
It is my belief that through his actions during his short time serving as a volunteer he has demonstrated a clear desire to bring awareness though his continued advocacy of the credit union, as well as a commitment to the credit union philosophy of people helping people. His actions during and after the robbery was unparalleled regarding his quick action, empathy, and compassion to all those involved.
For the above-mentioned reasons, I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend John Richardson, Security Officer/Board Member for Franklin First Federal Credit Union to be considered this years Volunteer of the Year as presented by the CCUA.