by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications Specialist
Pam Cote grew up in the large city of Tracy, California, located about 60 miles east of San Francisco. She married her high school sweetheart, Terry Cote in 1976. They immediately moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota as he had family there, and they never looked back. “It’s a great place to raise a family – and now we have been here for 45 years,” she said.
She first became involved with credit unions in 1989 when she began working at Riverfork FCU as a member service representative. She worked there for about five years, and through this job she met a career mentor, Kermit Larson, the league consultant at the time. “Kermit inspired me during my earlier credit union days; he was always there to help and give you encouragement. He lived the ‘People helping People’ philosophy,” she shared.
She then went to work at Burlington Northern FCU for about five years as a member service representative, but when Kermit recommended her to Karen Andersen (CEO of Postal Family FCU in Fargo) as a strong candidate for a member service rep at their Grand Forks office, Karen didn’t hesitate to offer her the position. She accepted the job in 1999, and now she has had “22 wonderful years” at the credit union!
In her role, Pam’s responsibilities are mainly teller work and opening and closing accounts, but since it is just her in the small branch office, she has become accustomed to wearing many hats. To help her learn more about the industry, Pam completed the Star Program (a credit union education series offered by the North Dakota Credit Union League) and also obtained her Credit Insurance License. In addition, she was the recipient of the Arnold C Paulson Scholarship to attend the Annual Summit one year.
“I love the ‘People helping People’ philosophy,” she stated. “I truly believe we do this every day as we help our members gain financial stability and bring joy to them when they purchase a new vehicle for the very first time. It is so rewarding to be a part of an industry that truly cares,” she added.
She continues, “I am very proud to be a part of a credit union that has been in business for 85 years and really cares about their members.” Pam shows her dedication to Postal Family FCU by serving on the Events Committee, which plans their annual meeting as well as other special activities.
Pam likes to keep a low profile, but she received quite a bit of recognition when, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her husband began assembling and donating protective face masks to anyone who needed one. Using the funds from their Economic Impact Payment, along with a few donations of cash and fabric from coworkers and friends, the couple has donated more than 3,000 masks around North Dakota, including a local day care, two fast food restaurants, Great Clips, TSA in Grand Forks and Bismarck, and two churches. They even made masks for a wedding and mailed free masks to people in New Jersey, Washington, Texas, and South Carolina. In addition, they provided masks for the members of Postal Family FCU to wear when they entered the credit union’s lobbies.
In her personal life, Pam has been married to Terry, her “soulmate and best friend,” for 45 wonderful years. They have three children and six grandchildren, and she and Terry have also hosted four exchange students over the years from several far-away places, including France, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint. She still finds time to give back to those in need, and currently, she volunteers to help a single mom by picking up her children from an after-school program and dropping them off at her workplace every week.
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