Home Info Newsroom League News Release Archive Henrico FCU's Bill Dawson Recognized for Decades of Volunteerism, Political Involvement with Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award

Henrico FCU's Bill Dawson Recognized for Decades of Volunteerism, Political Involvement with Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award

Lewis Wood
Virginia Credit Union League
Vice President of Public Relations and Communication
800.768.3344, ext. 629

Bill Dawson, a proud charter member and longtime volunteer at Henrico Federal Credit Union, was honored April 17 with the Virginia credit union system’s highest individual honor, the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Kirsch Award recognizes individuals who unselfishly devote their time and energy to ensuring a brighter, better future for credit unions. It is named in honor of the late James P. “Jimmy” Kirsch, a longtime credit union volunteer whose passion for the movement led him to leadership roles at the state, national and international levels.

The award is given by the Virginia Credit Union League, the state trade association that has promoted, protected and supported the commonwealth’s credit unions for more than 80 years 

“Credit union volunteers, like Bill, are the heart and soul of the credit union movement. They are passionate, selfless leaders, who fiercely and fearlessly work on the behalf of the movement and for the common good of fellow credit union member-owners,” said Rick Pillow, president of the Virginia Credit Union League. “Bill, however, is truly special. Very few individuals in the 90-plus-year history of the Virginia movement can claim the level of impact Bill has had on the system as a whole. His devotion to promoting and protecting the future of credit unions through political involvement is unmatched, and we have long admired his energy and been inspired by his commitment.”

For decades, Dawson has been the face of Richmond-area credit unions in their interactions with state and federal lawmakers. He has devoted countless hours volunteering on political campaigns, coordinating meetings with lawmakers and raising funds for Virginia-based credit unions' political action committee.

"Bill is acutely aware of the role governmental affairs plays in the future of credit unions, and he actively works to keep legislators informed of the Credit Union Difference," said Chris Williams, CEO of Henrico Federal Credit Union. "From personal meetings and handwritten thank you notes, to campaign and election assistance, Bill volunteers his time year-round to ensure our legislators know and appreciate the credit union movement. Every time a credit union excels in our community, Bill makes sure that our elected officials know about the Credit Union Difference.”

A proud graduate of Virginia Military Institute, Dawson got his start in credit unions in 1966 as a charter member of Henrico Federal Credit Union, a $200-million Richmond-area financial cooperative serving 27,000 member-owners.

He volunteered on the credit union's supervisory committee from 1967 through 1973, before advancing to the organization's board of directors in 1974, a volunteer role he holds to this day. Dawson served as chairman of the credit union's board of directors from 2000 until 2011.

For decades, Dawson also served Richmond-area credit unions through his involvement in the Virginia Credit Union League's Richmond Chapter, an organization of Richmond-area credit unions that coordinates joint political and grassroots work, offers education and training opportunities, and provides support to charitable and community organizations.

He helped coordinate the chapter's legislative efforts, setting up meetings to educate lawmakers about credit unions' issues and lining up credit union volunteers for lawmakers' campaigns. He also ensured a strong contingent of credit union representatives attended the League's annual Congressional Luncheon in Washington. 

His political involvement work earned him one of the credit union movement's highest national awards in 2007. In winning the Credit Union National Association's Buck Levins Award, which recognizes credit union leaders showing exceptional commitment for increasing the political strength of the credit union movement, a number of state and federal lawmakers offered praise for Dawson as a steadfast, kind and committed representative of Virginia-based credit unions. Dawson also earned the Virginia Credit Union League's Volunteer of the Year Award in 2003. 

Henrico FCU is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative. Its philosophy mirrors the traditional credit union philosophy of "people helping people," providing members with access to exceptional financial products and services. In the late 1960s, a handful of Henrico County employees pulled together to create the credit union. As the Richmond-area's first community chartered credit union, Henrico FCU can serve those who live, work, worship or attend school in the greater Richmond area. Learn more online at www.henricofcu.org. 

The state trade association for 156 Virginia-based credit unions, the Virginia Credit Union League provides legislative, regulatory, media, and consumer advocacy; compliance assistance and consulting services; development opportunities for credit union professionals and volunteers; communications; and products and services that empower credit unions to better serve their members. The League maintains offices in Richmond and Lynchburg. Learn more about the League online at www.vacul.org.

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