GCU President / CEO August Report
The year 2020 has proven to be filled with an array of “memorable moments,” that we all will never forget. The COVID-19 pandemic should certainly be placed at the top of our list—as our lives were placed into a “whirlwind.” I am sure this pandemic will be a thing of the past in the very near future. No doubt it will be just a matter of time for a vaccine to be developed that will prevent if not eradicate this deadly virus.
We as citizens of the United States, are so fortunate to live in a country with the most advanced medical technology. God has blessed so many individuals and has instilled them with the wisdom and intelligence to provide solutions to overcome and prevent so many diseases the human race has been exposed to. My confidence in battling the COVID-19 virus lies within past history, that I personally experienced. Jonas Salk and Albert Bruce Sabin were pioneers in developing vaccines and for the most part have eliminated polio in the United States. I can to this day remember standing in line at the Dunmore Little League complex, a distribution center for the Salk Vaccine, and receiving the medication on a sugar cube. I do not remember when I received the smallpox vaccine, but I do have proof of receiving it, as I sport a scare on my upper left arm that provides proof of my inoculation. This vaccine was developed by a British physician Edward Jenner in 1796. Today, this disease is the only human disease that has been totally eradicated worldwide. I also recall being vaccinated with a jet gun as this method was used for administering the smallpox and tuberculosis vaccines.
In the modern-day era, from 1900 to 2020, the deadliest pandemics were the 1918 Spanish Flu and the HIV/AIDS outbreak. Each of us must do our part to protect ourselves and other during the COVID-19 pandemic. With each of us doing our part we can limited the spread of this virus by abiding by the Center for Disease Control guidelines and our state and local governmental directives. There has been some very positive news recently announced for a potential vaccine that shows promising laboratory results and has now gone to human trial—we must pray for its success.
Through the grace of God and oversight by the GCU’s patron saint, St. Nicholas of Myra, our Society has been fortunate to continue to operate under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Guidelines as our business was considered essential in servicing the needs of our members and agents. The GCU once again is operating under our modified Business Continuity Plan as the Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf, mandated companies effective July 16th, to transition to a “teleworking” environment unless it is not possible. Under this directive and our capabilities of staff working remotely, it is pretty much “business as usual.”
GCU continues to achieve strong financial results despite our challenges under the current business environment. A financial update will be published by our Chief Financial Officer Tim Demetres, in the October issue of the GCU Magazine. We continue to grow assets and surplus as well as maintain strong profitability. We are experiencing issues with investments within the energy sector that will have a negative affect upon net income after capital gains/losses with no affect upon surplus. Our Asset Valuation Reserve will absorb most of the projected energy sector losses.
The GCU’s Mission of “Protecting Families, Promoting Faith and Fraternalism, Strengthening Communities” is ongoing throughout each year. In support of this “Mission” and the current financial needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, on a national level the GCU’s Board of Directors approved various programs to assist the many individuals and organizations in need of financial support during this most difficult time.
A COVID-19 GO GIVE DIRECT PROGRAM was established that allows for a $100 match of our members’ donation to an organization that provides assistance to individuals experiencing hardship as a result of this pandemic. More information on this program is presented on page 3 of the August GCU Magazine.
The GCU is also very proud to support the American Red Cross in Western Pennsylvania. A $10,000 donation was made toward the purchase of a much need biomed bus used for securing blood donation. Please review the article on this effort located on page 3 We encourage you to support your local American Red Cross Chapters as they provide much needed relief support to individuals and families when a disaster occurs.
Unfortunately, our local lodge and district volunteer and fundraising efforts have been suspended at this time with very limited activities. To somewhat fill this void, a $1,000 grant was authorized for each of the GCU’s lodges and districts to support a local food back in their area. Over $30,000.00 was donated. We thank each of our lodges and districts for participating in this effort.
A $10,000.00 grant was also awarded to each of the four Byzantine Catholic Eparchies to assist in defraying operational costs during this unprecedented time.
The membership of Seven Oaks Country Club also participated in efforts to raise funds to support essential medical staff, families and organizations in need, as over $11,000.00 was collected with $10,000.00 in additional matching funds pledged from the GCU to support this program.
The GCU is looked upon as a very successful financial services organization. Such success continues to allow for the GCU to fund many community outreach programs such as those presented above on a national and local level. The founders of our Society would be most proud as we continue to carry on their vision and purpose in establishing the GCU!
We must also be thankful to all of the medical, first responder, law enforcement and food chain personnel that place their health at risk in serving our everyday essential needs. In addition to our military, these individuals are the “true heroes” we should honor!
In closing, my thank you to each of our members and agents for your continued business and support of our “Mission”! Please stay safe and enjoy one of the most beautiful summers that God has provided, despite the current challenge before us.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.
GOODNESS IS GREAT!
George N. Juba