2018-04-05 / Neighbors

Credit union president retires after decades of service

By Abigail Worthing Staff Writer

Carrie Shaw Carrie Shaw SACO– Saco Valley Credit Union President Carrie Shaw is retiring from the organization after 33 years.

In 1983, Shaw, a Millinocket native, began working as a member service representative for the Maine Credit Union League and would often work with credit unions like Saco Valley. Bob Tarbox, Maine Credit Union League member and board member for Saco Valley Credit Union heard Shaw speak in 1985 at a National Youth Involvement Board meeting and called to offer the presidency at Saco Valley Credit Union. Shaw was living in Bangor at the time, and took the opportunity for a change. She has been with the credit union ever since.

Over the years, Shaw has been an active member of the Saco community.

Shaw has been a member of Altrusa and Zonta, and has served on the Biddeford Saco Chamber of Commerce, as a trustee for the Maine Credit Union League Insurance Trust, and as treasurer for the Special Olympics. She has also received the Sam Walton Business Leader Award, the Saco Biddeford Chamber of Commerce’s William Kaney Leadership Award, and the Biddeford Saco Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award.

“I don’t think there’s a board I haven’t served on,” said Shaw, now 65. “I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to help others. A credit union was a natural thing for me. I love the philosophy of people helping people.”

Among her contributions to the community was Carrie’s Kids, a Christmastime foundation for impoverished youth in Saco.

“Everyone thinks everyone is Saco is rich,” Shaw said, “but I would talk to these families and realized their kids wouldn’t have a Christmas.”

With a bit of fundraising and a lot of donations, Carrie’s Kids made sure that every child they worked with had a hat, mittens, coat, boots and ski pants, and a Christmas present.

“It didn’t matter what it was. We would get it for them,” Shaw said.

Shaw and other volunteers would have shopping and wrapping parties throughout the Christmas season. Local schoolteachers and nurses would alert Carrie’s Kids of children in need. Shaw said community members donate every year, and people they have helped in the past will return and donate to pay forward the kindness.

Over Shaw’s tenure at Saco Valley Credit Union, she has tried to add a personal touch in the age of technology. Every year she and her staff send out about 2,000 Christmas cards to members and each staff member signs them by hand. Saco Valley Credit Union also sends Thanksgiving baskets and miniature decorated Christmas trees to senior citizens.

“One of the reasons I stayed so long at the credit union is our amazing board of directors. If someone needs help, they never say no,” Shaw said. “People make a difference. If everyone helped everyone, can you imagine?”

As far as plans for retirement, Shaw will continue volunteering, but also wants to travel and spend more time at her summer home.

“I never thought about retiring. I always thought I would die at my desk,” Shaw said. “But now I know life is too short.”

When asked if she would do anything differently, her answer is one not surprising for someone with a history of humanitarianism.

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t buy anything for myself. I’d spend it all on others,” Shaw said.

Shaw’s last day at the credit union was March 30, and while she said she is “beyond excited” for retirement, it will be a bittersweet day.

“I’ve loved all my members. I will miss working with the people who have become my family.”

Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at news@inthecourier.com.

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