Nominated by Casera Credit Union
John Gottfried was nominated for the Order of Merit by the board of Casera Credit Union. Although he has served on Casera’s board for the past six years, John is better known to the system as the long-time Member Services Division Manager, Corporate Secretary and twice-interim CEO of Credit Union Central of Manitoba (CUCM) where he worked for 23 years following nine years at Cooperators Credit Union. Over the course of his career, John served on committees at the provincial and national levels including the Credit Granters Association of Winnipeg, CUCM’s System Credit Level III and Orderly Development committees, the Canadian Co-operative Association’s Projects Review Committee and CUCC’s Interprovincial Services and Products Development Committee. He also served on the Board of Governors of the Credit Union Institute of Canada and was CUCM’s liaison with the Credit Union Managers’ Association of Manitoba.
Outside the system, John gave and continues to give his time to organizations in Winnipeg and his home community of Transcona. He sat on the boards of the Better Business Bureau and the Catholic Foundation of Winnipeg and remains active with his local Knights of Columbus as a founding member of the council. His ongoing work with L’Arche, an organization founded in France by a Canadian, Jean Vanier, has been a highlight of his volunteer life. John describes it as “incredible” the way L’Arche residents respond to the live-in care and encouragement they receive.
Serving on the refugee committee of his church became a 40-hour-a-week job for John following his retirement. He dealt with the legal and administrative challenges of Canada’s immigration process in securing refugee status for a mother and seven children from Sierra Leone, worked to find them housing, secured medical cards, food and clothing, and set them up in jobs and programs that helped them pursue educational opportunities. They are, variously, in school or gainfully employed in their new lives in Canada.
He also served many years with Oxford Heights Community Centre, the Transcona Nationals Football Club and, with a friend and fellow fan, brought junior baseball back to life in Transcona in the early 1990s. He continues to volunteer at the Transcona Food Bank.
In his volunteer and community service work, John says he likes to serve for a relatively short time then move on to something new. Transcona can expect to see John Gottfried take on new challenges in the years to come.
In the spirit of the path followed by his children, John has asked that the $1,000 bursary attached to his award go to a student in Collège Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s band program who has been involved in volunteerism in their community and plans to pursue a post-secondary education. The school awarded the bursary to Christopher Adams of Winnipeg.