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Appreciation Dinner Recognizes Nine Honorees


By Tricia Hall

Sojourner’s Truth Reporter


The Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union’s (TUFCU) annual appreciation banquet was held on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at The Seagate Center.


Demetria Simpson, Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority president, served as the mistress of ceremonies. The program began with a prayer delivered by Bishop Duane Tisdale of Friendship Baptist Church, a welcome presented by Timothy Pettaway, pastor of Walk the Word Ministries, a testimony reported by credit union member Norman Corggens and, after acknowledgements, entertainment by musical guest Howard Hewett.


“We have doubled our size. Our current business hours make us a six-day operation. I want to thank our board of directors and staff for working to help complete this dream. I could not have done this without your support and commitment,” explained Suzette Cowell, CEO of Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union.


There were more than 250 attendees present to witness nine honorees receive recognition for services provided to the credit union and community. The 2019 honorees were: Monica Armstrong, William Ellis Jr., Theresa Gabriel, Jerel Harris-Tisdale, Douglas Keetion, Andrew Kinsey, Alexis Means, Lucas County Treasurer Lindsay Webb and Jeffrey White.


Monica Armstrong is a distribution operations manager at Toledo Processing Distribution Center. Armstrong was credited by Suzette Cowell as having been instrumental in the creation of the credit union at Friendship Baptist Church. “I just allowed the Lord to use me, and I know if in doubt, I can reach out to my pastor,” explained Armstrong.


William Ellis Jr. attended Scott High School, Wright State University and the University of Toledo; and is currently launching his first solo endeavor called Full Bloom Media Group. Ellis has transitioned from Toledo resident to seeking roles in the entertainment industry, but never ignores an opportunity to share his appreciation of his hometown. “I always find a way to give back to this community. The credit union actually serves as my muse because you can get love and advice under one roof, it’s just like visiting a relative’s home,” said Ellis.


Theresa Gabriel has served Toledo as Deputy Director of Lucas County Board of Elections, Toledo City Council member at large member and various City of Toledo department leadership roles. Gabriel has also served as a supporter of the credit union in her various roles and serves as Cowell’s mentor. “I want to give praise to those who support me,” shared Gabriel.


Jerel Harris-Tisdale, a native Toledoan and son of Bishop and Thelma Tisdale, graduated from Rogers High School and Penta Automotive Technology Class. He was able to assist the credit union during the rescheduling of the parade this past summer even though he was dealing a personal tragedy. “I first want to thank each of you who are also members of the credit union. I am thankful to the staff and of course Suzette,” explained Harris-Tisdale


Douglas Keetion is an Army veteran, and co-owner of Studio 32 Nine Salon Suites and Spa. Keetion actively volunteers his time and talents to the parade and festival each year. “I want to thank my studio family for allowing me to be me, my parents and family who support me, my kids who give me purpose and of course my beautiful wife who stretches and completes me, said Keetion.


Andrew Kinsey is from Atlanta, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and Central Michigan University, and an Emmy-Award winning journalist at WTOL 11. Kinsey was recognized for his focus on neighborhood issues that impact the community. “I want to thank God for this opportunity, and I thank God for the work that the credit union does too. You can either be a part of the problem or the solution,” said Kinsey.


Alexis Means is from Pittsburgh, graduated from Hampton University and has received career-related awards including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Associated Press and several Emmy nominations. Means was recognized for her focus on neighborhood issues that impact the community. “My journey started with my grandmother and on this journey, I have accomplished many things. She was my mentor and every child need a mentor. I encourage each of you to reach back and pull someone else forward,” explained Means.


Lindsay Webb was elected to the Lucas County Treasurer’s office in 2018 after serving as Toledo City Council representative for District 6 from 2008-2018. Webb earned a law degree from University of Toledo. Webb was acknowledged by Cowell for supporting the credit union in her role on council and as treasurer. “I wanted to thank Suzette for helping me with my credit report, when there was concerns about my score while I was running for office,” said Webb.


Jeffrey White, an Army veteran and president of Local 2092 American Federation of Government Employees. White has dedicated his time to assist and uplift the community even after he had dealt with a personal tragedy. “I moved to Toledo and lost my daughter. When I walked into the credit union, Suzette knew I was broken financially and mentally. She made sure that I was okay before I left. I’m fixed now and Suzette has always treated me like a son,” shared White.


TUFCU opened for business on July 21, 1996, currently operates locations at 1415 Jefferson Avenue and 1441 Dorr Street. The TUFCU African American Festival celebrated the 15th year in 2019. Board of Directors: Pastor Jerry Boose, Suzette Cowell, Lawrence Friedman, Adele Jasion, Edwin Mabrey, Pastor Timothy Pettaway Sr., Frances Smith, Virginia Welsh, Raymond Woods and Fletcher Word. TUFCU Founders: Bishop Duane Tisdale, Bishop Terry Cook, Pastor Robert Culp, Minister Rick Hunter, Suzette Cowell, Alto King Jr., Edwin Mabrey, Ken Anderson, James Cobham, and Roosevelt Gant. Toledo Urban Foundation Inc. Board of Directors: Richard LaValley, Jr., Pamela Buganski, Frances Smith, Deborah Beyer, Michael Killian, James Weber, and Laurie Cantrell.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/29/19 09:57:35 -0500.



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