#NationalNursesWeek2024

LET’s CELEBRATE NATIONAL NURSES week!

WIN A $25 Amazon eGIFT CARD FOR A HARFORD OR BALTIMORE COUNTY NURSE – 3 CHANCES TO WIN!

Square image with photos of nurses at work. "Happy National Nurses Week"

Look for our #NationalNursesWeek Nomination Post on our social media pages starting May 10th, 2024 running until 12 pm Monday, May 13th, 2024.

If you are a nurse or would like to nominate a nurses who lives or works in Harford/Baltimore County…

1. POST the nurse’s name and agency/organization in the comments on our Facebook, Twitter , or Instagram post
(Feel free to include a picture or comment with your nomination, where applicable!)

2. FOLLOW our social media page

3. SHARE our social media post

We will announce our winners on the afternoon of Monday, May 13th!

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to get started.

*Nurses may live and/or work in Harford or Baltimore County. Nurses are welcome to enter themselves. One nomination per person, but nurses can be entered multiple time by other individuals to increase their chances of winning.

Find A Reason

There are all sorts of sayings and clichés about fighting through adversity, dealing with challenges, and the subsequent benefits that await once you come out the other side. 

I know.  I’ve used them.  Mom used to say, “everything happens for a reason” and I would roll my eyes as kids tend to do when parents impart their particular brand of wisdom.

Depending on the situation, however, in the moment, it’s hard to find the reason.  I mention this, not because there are difficulties, but to share a little message of optimism and hope as we move into spring…the season of new beginnings.

Recently, a close friend of mine passed away unexpectedly.  Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “That’s optimism?  Why are you bringing me down?”.  I promise that’s not my intent so hang in there.

See, I was asked to give a eulogy, something I had never done, and the bizarre thing was that just a couple weeks prior, my friend was talking about how he believed there was a reason for everything.  So, as I prepared my remarks, I looked for a reason for such an unfair loss.

What came to me was maybe less a reason and more a lesson on the significance of life; what we had and what remained rather than what was lost.  It said to me that when grief is so deeply felt, it’s actually a testament to life and is the result of the profound impact one person can have however long or short the time may be.

In recognizing this and thinking about how one moves forward, I realized how important it is not waste the time we have together and never take for granted those we hold most dear.

“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.”  However, you want to measure it, we can all be that one life that changes our world for the better.

There Must Be Manure to Life

Travel though the farmlands and you will no doubt encounter that unmistakable aroma which inevitably leads to the comment, “Was that you?” from some joker in the car. 

Yes, as spring approaches, crops are planted, and flower beds prepped, there will be lots of natures’ fertilizer in use.  At this time of year, I recall one of my first jobs working in the Sears Garden Center, loading bags and bags of peat moss, topsoil and yes, lovely grade A cow manure into people’s cars and trucks.  Sure, there was the occasional busted bag that found its way onto, and into, my clothes…or face, but hey, I was working outside in the sunshine and the physical labor got me into probably the best shape of my life.

And that’s the thing, manure will happen, life is going to dump it on you when you least expect it and in quantities you may think you can’t carry.  But remember, like the manure used in the fields to fertilize and help grow abundant crops and beautiful flowers to feed and nurture us body and soul, the kind life can dole out can also help us grow as individuals.  It’s part of life that not everything is clean and neat and sweet smelling.  Things can go sideways sometimes, you just have to believe in, and look for, what positives can come from them; how it will help you grow into a stronger, more beautiful being.  The same is true for life at Freedom.

When the economy fluctuates, when pandemics arise, when systems falter or we as humans simply make mistakes, it’s how we react, how we learn, how we adapt and improve, that makes us stronger, keeps us moving forwarding and growing to better serve our members, each other, and our community.  There are all sorts of clichés; “anything worth having is worth fighting for”, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “everything happens for a reason”, and so on.  These may have some truth to them, but they can also be meaningless in the moment.

All I can say, from experience, is giving up doesn’t work.  Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away or resolve it.  Instead, I say, take that manure, spread it on the field, and let something wonderful grow.

Be Here Now

When asked how many children he thought he had influenced, Mr. Rogers said, “I don’t care how many, even if it’s just one.

We get so wrapped up in numbers in our society. The most important thing is that we are able to be one-to-one, you and I with each other at the moment. If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that’s what’s important.”

I mention this because of the similarity I feel between those words and our lives at Freedom.  The ability to be present in the moment applies not just with our members, but with each other.

Work gets busy, lives get chaotic, things happen unexpectedly, so it’s so important that we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment.

The biggest gift we can each give ourselves is the gift of being present — engaged with life, connected with each other, listening with kindness, staying open-minded, free from judgment.

Aiden Jablon Receives Freedom Federal Credit Union’s First Annual Freedom to Help Award

The North Harford High School senior designates Harford Family House to receive a $1,000 donation on his behalf
Aiden Jablon Accepts Freedom to Help Award in 2024
Freedom Federal Credit Union Representatives presented the First Annual Freedom to Help Award to North Harford High School senior, Aiden Jablon, along with a check for $1,000 to contribute to his favorite local nonprofit organization, Harford Family House. Left to Right: Sue LeBuhn, Robin Tomechko, Aiden Jalon, Mike MacPherson, and Lisa Snodgrass

February 15, 2024 –  Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to congratulate Aiden Jablon, a senior at North Harford High School, on winning the Credit Union’s First Annual Freedom to Help Award.  The award is intended to celebrate an unpaid volunteer, who has chosen to spend their free time in the service of a local charitable mission – someone who has gone above and beyond in making the cause theirs.

Jablon was nominated by Harford Family House, a local nonprofit who strives to combat homelessness through housing, resources, and support.  Jablon first started volunteering with Harford Family House in middle school and has come to be a valued leader. Sue LeBuhn, Harford Family House’s Volunteer Engagement Manager, spoke highly of Jablon, noting that despite a demanding sports and academic schedule, “Jablon’s support as a project leader and his recruitment of other volunteers exemplifies the impact a dedicated individual can have on the community.”

In addition to his volunteer work with Harford Family House, Jablon volunteers with Best Buddies and Sports for Life through his school, two programs that work with people of differing abilities. “I think my volunteer experiences have made me more well-rounded and introduced me to things that I wouldn’t be accustomed to regularly,” said Jablon. “I’m just doing my small part to further their work.”

Jablon’s dedication to volunteerism seems to have taken hold, as he looks to the future, he wants to continue to give back. “Wherever I go to college I definitely want to continue volunteering, whether that’s with homelessness or not, but and even when I come back home, I hope to continue volunteering with Harford Family House,” stated Jablon.

Jablon and his mother, Tricia Jablon, met with representatives from Freedom Federal Credit Union and the grateful staff at Harford Family House at the nonprofit’s Aberdeen location for the award presentation.  While appreciative of the award, Jablon was especially thrilled that as a result, Freedom donated $1,000 to Harford Family House.

Mike MacPherson, Freedom’s President and CEO, expressed his delight in meeting Jablon, “It’s truly been a pleasure to meet Aiden, and to recognize him for his service to our community.  At the very core of Freedom is our commitment to our ‘people helping people’ philosophy. Through service to our members and to our community, we carry out this mission, and today, we have the opportunity to highlight and thank a very special person who shares in that philosophy. Congratulations, Aiden.”

After five years of running the viral #FreedomtoHelpChallenge on their social media pages, Freedom launched the Freedom to Help Award to bring even more focus to the individual volunteers shaping the community for the better.  Twelve deserving finalists were highlighted during a weeklong public voting period on Freedom’s Facebook and Instagram pages, allowing their powerful stories to spread across the community and beyond.

The Freedom to Help Award accepts nominations in November exclusively from employees associated with local nonprofit organizations in Harford and Baltimore County.  To get more information about nominations in 2024, please reach out to enter@freedomfcu.org and follow Freedom Federal Credit Union’s Facebook page for the latest.

 

About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered federal credit union offering consumer financial services to those who live, work, volunteer, worship, attend school, or have family in Harford or Baltimore County.  Additionally, Freedom offers a full-line of banking services for all businesses, associations, and other organizations that are based in Harford or Baltimore County.  Freedom has been in business since 1953 and has six locations throughout Harford and Baltimore County. To learn more, visit www.freedomfcu.org.

Golden Apple Educator Awards – 2024

Golden Apple Awards

We are now accepting entries for this year’s Golden Apple Educator Award! Entrants must be a Freedom Member* and an employee at a Harford or Baltimore County school (public or private).

1. TWO First Place – $2,000 Awards
2. TWO Second Place – $1,000 Awards
3. TWO First Runner-Up – $500 Awards
4. TWO Second Runner-Up $500 Awards

To enter, submit an entry form and essay. The essay must describe how you would use the funds and why you should be the one to win! Scoring favors proposals demonstrating the greatest impact on local schools, classes, students, and/or the community at large.

Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to offer EIGHT Annual Educator Awards of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $500, four each to Harford and Baltimore County Education Employees who may be a deserving teacher, school administrator or school support employee.

Scoring favors submissions with the greatest impact and creativity with a strong preference for ideas/initiatives that are sustainable over multiple years.

.TO ENTER: Complete the entry form and submit an essay that demonstrates the significance of your idea or initiative and how it will be beneficial. Your essay may address any or all of the following questions:

  1. What is your creative idea or initiative to benefit your students, your class, or your school? If you win this award, how will you make it happen using the funds from this award?
  2. How will your idea or initiative support or improve the learning experience of your students or benefit your classroom or school overall?
  3. Will your idea or initiative benefit the overall community? If yes, how so?

Please submit your Golden Apple – 2024 Educator Award Entry Form and essay to enter@freedomfcu.org by May 31, 2024.

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges made up of Freedom employees, volunteers and community partners.

  • Entry deadline is May 31, 2024 
  • Submit by email to enter@freedomfcu.org
  • We will contact award recipients by June 21, 2024

LEARN ABOUT THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS OFFERED TO HARFORD AND BALTIMORE COUNTY EDUCATORS- EXPLORE THE REST OF THE GOLDEN APPLE PROGRAM!

*New members are also welcome to apply!

Twas the Night Before Christmas

“‘Twas days before Christmas and things kinda stank.

The fear of recession and economy in the tank.

But at Freedom we were happy, it has to be said,

With the anticipation of holiday treats in our head

 

And I strategically planning efficient and fast,

Was analyzing data right down to the last.

When out in the lobby I heard such a clatter.

I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.

 

Away from my desk and straight to the door,

Out in the hallway and to the lobby I did soar.

And what with my wondering eyes did I see,

But a little old man waiving frantically at me.

 

He was dressed all in red and spoke rather quick,

But I could tell in an instant that this was St. Nick.

He had papers in hand and asked me to hurry.

So straight up to him I quickly did scurry.

 

He got right to the point and said with a sigh,

“I can no longer afford for my reindeer to fly.

“The cost of feed and the parts for my sled,

If I don’t get relief Christmas’s future I dread!”

 

We went off to my office in a chair he was seated,

I went over his finances saw his 401k was depleted.

But I was not worried and said “Do not fear.

Freedom can help you so it’s good that you’re here.”

 

With a savings restructure and a nice yielding loan

I devised a bailout to get him back in the zone.

Once all was completed, he was back on his way,

Delivering goodies before Christmas Day.

 

And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,

“Before Freedom’s help money really was tight,

But now that you’ve helped me I can continue my flight.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!”

The Futility of Hate

I’ve never understood hate.  Don’t get me wrong, I say I hate some things.  I hate traffic, I hate liver, I hate the cold, I hate the way I look in these pants, but that’s not the hate I’m talking about. 

I mean the apparent ease with which people hate, the reasons they hate and the lengths they go to express that hate.  I’ve seen a lot in my many decades on this planet and I still don’t understand why people hate for such superficial reasons like appearance, background, beliefs, or hate an entire group because of the actions of a few.

Disagree? Sure, but hate?  Especially hate that turns to violence.  What benefit is there for hater or the hated?  What change does that actually bring?  What gain is there in removing the ability to discuss, compromise, empathize, coexist in hopes of a better tomorrow for everyone?

Look, I’m no saint.  If someone hurt someone I loved or I was in a survival situation, I can’t predict how I would respond, but that’s totally different than hate because of certain differences.

Maybe I’m just naïve, but that seems futile.  Whatever happened to judging someone by the content of their character or not judging a book by its cover, or judge not lest ye be judged?

These days we are quick to anger, quick to judge for the slightest reason.  Maybe, just maybe, we can see how damaging that is to our society.  That focusing on our differences rather than our similarities puts us on a path of self-destruction.

Maybe, just maybe, a season about peace and love will stand out this time and show us a better way.  I have to believe in that and it’s why our actions at Freedom matter so much.  That’s why doing good is more important than just doing good business.

Besides, in the words of Elvis Costello, “what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding.”