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National Cooperative Bank Rewards Two Volunteers with a Week-Long Celebrity Cruise

Arlington, VA – January 9, 2017 –National Cooperative Bank (NCB), a leading financial services company dedicated to serving cooperatives, their members and socially responsible organizations nationwide, is pleased to announce that Gina Schaefer, ACE Hardware store owner and Jesse Lockhart of Flint Energies electric cooperative have been selected as NCB’s celebrities to join 60 other volunteers aboard the Cabot Creamery Celebrity Volunteer week-long Alaskan cruise. The goal of the cruise is to honor the achievements and contributions of volunteers who are making a significant difference in their communities. 

Gina Schaefer is the owner of 11 local ACE hardware stores in DC, MD and VA, but it is her commitment to her community and her employees that makes Gina deserving of this recognition. “Gina’s business strategy centers around two questions that so few prioritize,” stated Christinah Makhetho, an employee at Logan ACE Hardware.   “How can I make a difference? How can I change a life?”  

 The true gem in Gina’s accomplishments is not in the number of stores she has opened or the number of jobs she has created, but her contributions to the community in which she lives.  Gina’s selfless work is visible through her numerous philanthropic contributions, both monetary and voluntary, including countless fundraisers for Children’s National Medical Center and DC’s local Children’s Miracle Network.  She serves on the board of directors for House of Ruth, which focuses on ending homelessness and life-long abuse in the Washington, DC area and has a partnership with with Jubilee Jobs, which provides second chance employment and job training for  those that have been turned away due to unemployment, learning disabilities, former incarceration and alcohol/ substance abuse.   

Jesse Lockhart has been with Flint Energies electric co-op for 13 years and is their number one volunteer- helping with nearly every event the co-op sponsors, including donating blankets on the coldest days of the year, stocking food pantries and donating school supplies to local schools. But it is his additional work in the community that makes Jesse a remarkable volunteer. “The old adage about leaving the world a better place than you found it sums Jesse up,” stated Marian McLemore, Manager of Public Relations & Certified Cooperative Communicator for Flint Energies.  “Anything Jesse can do to improve a child’s life- he will.”  

A “gentle giant”, Jesse has been an advocate for children’s rights and takes care of those who are abused and neglected through Rainbow House, a child advocacy center in Warner Robins, Georgia.  He has fought for child abuse prevention and organized 5K events to build awareness during the month of April which is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Jesse also encourages children to be healthy and team players through his involvement with the nonprofit, Kids and Pros, which develops character and skills through athletics.  “Jesse is an excellent role model to not only the children he impacts through his volunteer activities, but also his fellow employees,” said Ms. McLemore. “His volunteer spirit is contagious and makes us all want to do better.”  

 “We believe true celebrities are those who make a difference in our communities because of their selfless contributions to others,” said Mary Alex Blanton, Senior Vice President of National Cooperative Bank. “It is our honor to recognize the contributions of both Gina and Jesse and thank them for their countless hours of dedication to their local communities.”   


 About National Cooperative Bank:  

National Cooperative Bank is dedicated to strengthening communities nationwide through the delivery of banking and financial services, complemented by a special focus on cooperative expansion and economic development. NCB provides financial products and services for the nation’s cooperatives, their members, and socially responsible organizations. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Bank has offices in Alaska, California, New York, Ohio and Virginia. To learn more, visit www.ncb.coop, National Cooperative Bank on Facebook and Instagram, or on Twitter @natlcoopbank.