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Credit union gives back to 167th

December 05, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- As he fought the emotion swelling in his throat, Senior Master Sgt. Tim Shipway gingerly touched the cold exterior of his new 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and inhaled a deep breath as he processed what had just happened.

The key was in his hand, and the car belonged to him.

"I'm overwhelmed," he said, choking back the urge to cry. "Thank you, Lord."

The 167th TFR Credit Union gave away the brand new car Saturday to celebrate 50 years in the community.

Started by the West Virginia Air Guard 167th Airlift Wing, the credit union has been a financial home for the 167th since 1959, Credit Union CEO Lynn Haynes said.

"It's so incredible to give this away to one of our soldiers, because the air guard built this credit union 50 years ago," she said.

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"What a tribute to be able to give back this way to the 167th," she said.

Not only was the contest a way to celebrate 50 years in the community, it was one of the institution's most successful membership drives, Haynes said.

Starting in January and continuing through Nov. 30, Haynes said 143 contestants received entries in the contest by bringing a new member to the credit union.

Adding 143 members in a year was phenomenal for the institution, she said.

While the credit union only gave away one car, contestants who braved the Saturday morning snow walked away a winner.

Five finalists for the car were selected at random, and those who did not win the vehicle took home $100 in cash. The other contestants who attended were given one of about 20 treasure chests that each held between $60 and $100 in cash.

The crowd huddled in the bright yellow tent outside the credit union roared with applause for Shipway when he opened his basket and found the key.

"I was rooting for him," Ruby Avey said. "When I knew I wasn't a finalist, I really wanted him to win."

Despite winning the car, Shipway said its true winner was waiting for him at home.

"My daughter starts college next year, so I'm going to give this to her," he said. "So she can get back and forth."

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