Equels honored for heroism

first_imgFor service in Vietnam September 15, 2003 Regular News Equels honored for heroism Florida litigator Thomas K. Equels, an Army aviator who was honored seven times for heroism in Vietnam, has been inducted in the Distinguished Flying Cross Society, comprised exclusively of war heroes who received the highest honor for military flying.During his service in Vietnam, Equels was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, 15 air medals including three with “V” devise for valor, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.“I was a helicopter gunship pilot facing combat almost every day,” said Equels, managing director of the law firm Holtzman Equels. “The war taught me to be totally calm and clear in highly challenging situations.”Equels will be recognized during an annual ceremony in San Diego this fall.Equels’ first Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded for a rescue mission during the first days of the 1972 “Spring Offensive” when five divisions of the North Vietnamese Army invaded the south. Equels was the co-pilot of a Cobra helicopter gunship conducting aerial reconnaissance when Camp Carroll, an allied firebase, was being overrun by several thousand North Vietnamese troops. While the allied troops sought emergency shelter in a bunker at the center of the firebase, Equels provided suppressive gunfire, driving back the enemy forces. A Chinook helicopter then landed and rescued the surviving allied soldiers as Equels’ Cobra took over 50 hits from enemy fire while covering the evacuation.Equels earned a second Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery during a battle near the town of Tian Phuoc. As a heavily armed brigade of North Vietnamese attacked this outpost of allied troops, Equels engaged the enemy, providing close fire support and slowed the approaching attack. Two enemy tanks then joined the attack. Unfortunately, bad weather prevented U.S. Air Force fighter jets, typically used to destroy such tanks, from joining the battle. Assisted by a second Cobra, Equels attacked and not only wiped out the two tanks, but inflicted massive casualties on the enemy.“I was a 19-year-old who believed in creating a world of free people living in democratic institutions,” Equels said. “When I returned from Vietnam, I became a lawyer, determined to devote a part of my practice to social justice. I still think that we can change the world for the better, a little bit at a time, by dealing with everyday matters that are within our power and abilities. No matter how difficult things become, the willingness of brave citizens to serve is what counts. Whether serving as a helicopter pilot in combat or serving food at a church soup kitchen for the homeless, our country and our communities depend on such service. It is vital to the preservation of liberty and our democratic institutions.”Among his professional achievements, Equels, obtained a $44-million judgment against Manuel Noriega for money he misappropriated from the Republic of Panama.As a community leader, Equels received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Community Service Award in 1995, the Guild of Catholic Lawyers’ St. Thomas Moore Award in 1991, as well as The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award, and the Federal Bar Association’s Public Service Award in 1987. Equels honored for heroismlast_img read more

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Consumers prefer community financial institutions—but they won’t switch

first_imgAccording to a new study, most Americans hold favorable views of community financial institutions (CFIs) and would rather do business with a credit union than a megabank. Unfortunately, those preferences alone aren’t enough to drive consumers to switch to a CFI anytime soon.The 2015 Consumer Banking Insights Study, commissioned by BancVue and conducted online by Harris Poll in January among more than 1,000 U.S. adults, found that, if all things were equal, 2 out of 3 U.S. adults (66 percent) would rather bank at a credit union than one of the big national banks. Fully 64 percent of consumers think CFIs have better personal service than the big national banks. And 1 in 4 megabank customers* (25 percent) say they sometimes feel guilty for banking with a big bank.Yet, market share continues to diminish for CFIs, which had more than 70 percent share of the deposit market in the mid 1990s yet now have less than 30 percent The fact is that most people aren’t planning to switch to CFIs anytime soon. Only 23 percent—less than a quarter—of those who don’t have a checking account at a community financial institution say they’re at least somewhat likely to switch this year. We also assume that the fraction of consumers who actually do make the switch will be far lower than those that claim they might.Why the disparity? While many consumers feel positively about CFIs, they worry that CFIs don’t offer competitive products and services. The study found that 31 percent of megabank customers say they want to use a CFI but feel those institutions lack the products they need. And 71 percent of U.S. adults say access to the latest banking products are more important when choosing a bank than the banking institution that provides them.Additionally, many consumers simply don’t know about CFIs. Among consumers who don’t have a checking account with a CFI, 34 percent said it was because they haven’t thought about it (30 percent) and/or are unaware of their options (11 percent).It’s clear, then, that CFIs must improve their product lineups and marketing efforts in order to grow. Today’s consumers are looking for banking products that also provide things like rewards, cash-back options and ATM fee refunds.Simply offering better products isn’t enough, though. Those efforts must be coupled with branding, advertising and marketing initiatives that raise consumer awareness about local banking options. For 71 percent of consumers, a recognizable brand name is at least somewhat important when choosing a bank.Improved products and marketing efforts are especially key when it comes to attracting the next generation of consumers. Among Millennials, 91 percent identified cash back options as at least somewhat important. Additionally, Millennials who don’t have an account with a CFI are more than twice as likely to say they don’t use a local CFI because they are unaware of their options (18 percent), than 35-54 year olds (8 percent) and adults 55 and up (7 percent).Fortunately, there are easy ways CFIs can improve both their products and their marketing initiatives. Some credit unions have begun partnering with each other on joint marketing efforts, leveraging their budgets to reach more people. There are also third-party providers out there that offer nationally branded products to CFIs with features including rewards, ATM fee refunds and cash-back options.CFIs have a great reputation for personal service, but that will only get you so far. In order to capitalize on consumers’ positive feelings about credit unions, CFIs must offer better products and improve their marketing efforts to better compete with megabanks.*Throughout this article “megabank customers” are checking account holders who consider one of the big national banks to be their primary banking institution and “credit union members” are those who consider a local credit union to be their primary banking institution. “Consumers” are defined as U.S. adults ages 18 and up who have a checking account at a financial institution. 21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Gabe Krajicek Gabe Krajicek is the chief executive officer of BancVue, the leader in branded, community-powered banking products.BancVue’s innovative Kasasa® suite connects breakthrough products with world-class marketing, data-driven consulting, and … Web: www.bancvue.com Detailslast_img read more

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