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Member stories

Don Brajcich
Member since 1950s, West Richmond Branch

Banking at G&F (and a love of the ocean) runs in this family

Just like G&F Financial Group, Don Brajcich has longstanding ties to the ocean. Don's father, affectionately called "Little George" Brajcich by his friends and family, immigrated to Ladner (Delta) in the mid-1940s. A born fisherman, George soon started work with Nelson Brothers Fisheries and fished for salmon up the north coast, as far as Prince Rupert. In 1954, Don remembers that his father went to G&F's Hastings and Main Street Branch to apply for a boat loan, as he wanted to have Matsumoto Shipyards build him a state-of-the-art seine boat.

After meeting with then-Branch Manager Leo Holthe, George was approved for the loan and promptly commissioned the build of "Miss Georgina", a broad-beamed seiner—the first of its kind. The maiden voyage of Miss Georgina in the spring of 1954 drew quite the crowd!

Although Don didn't embrace a life of fishing for himself (he eventually became a high school teacher), he did follow in his father's footsteps to become a member of G&F. He opened his account at age 13 and has been a member ever since.

"I like to bank at G&F because they're always so friendly and approachable when I go in.

I'm so impressed that G&F took a chance on loaning my father, a new immigrant, the money for a boat when a lot of other banks would have said 'no'."

Don's wife, Lonnie, is also a G&F member. She had this to say about the credit union:

"I'm very involved in volunteering with my community, and I like that G&F employees are always out and about raising funds and donating their time to different causes. That's important to me"

Lonnie met Don when they both ended up teaching at the same high school. They've been married for 49 years, have three children, and share a love of the ocean. When their twin girls were just over a year old, Don and Lonnie contacted G&F for a loan and purchased a Gillnetter called "The Ensign". They spent the summer fishing and exploring the BC coastline. And when they retired from teaching, the two used their knowledge and experience to educate senior citizens on board cruise ships, earning them passage all over the world.

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