After beginning his career at Marine Credit Union (MCU) in 2019, Ian Spohn recently transferred from the West Avenue branch to Onalaska. Ian is originally from the Camp Douglas, Wisconsin area and went to high school in Tomah. Ian shared that he didn’t go to college right after high school because his parents struggled financially.
In the early 2000s, Ian shared that his parents filed for bankruptcy. He was 12 years old at the time. In his home, Ian said, “It (the bankruptcy) was talked about. They had fallen behind. It was a worrisome time,” he added. “It was a pretty tough time. There was a sigh of relief when it went through.” He said the bankruptcy gave his family a fresh start. But as a kid, Ian explained that he saw bankruptcy like in the board game of Monopoly. “When you have no money,” he shared.
Ian said it was tough growing up with those kinds of financial difficulties. That he and his family didn’t even have a house phone back then … in a time before cell phones. “I knew I was the kid who didn’t have a lot.” And to make matters worse, Ian shared there had been emotional and physical turmoil in his home growing up as well. He said he wasn’t treated well by other kids as a result. “I struggled mentally,” he shared and said it still affects him today. “I had a tough time with it,” Ian shared. “Kids can be really cruel. It was difficult.”
Unfortunately, things got even worse for Ian. “I was 16, turning 17,” he shared. “My oldest sister was in a car crash. She passed away two days before Christmas.” Ian shared he had been with her and his other sister the same day shopping for Christmas presents. He said that he later saw the car and the gifts were still in it.
Ian’s said he had a special bond with the sister who he lost; that she was his confidant. At 16 years of age, he said that he hated his parents. His coping mechanism to deal with all of this trauma? “I’ll just push things down,” he said. Ian said he felt he had lost the one person who had been there for him. He said that he and his other sister became very close and leaned on each other, but, Ian shared that he didn’t have the emotional intelligence at the time to cope with it all.
Having received an insurance settlement from his older sister’s death, Ian said he felt invincible but soon spent the money because he didn’t know how to handle it. Over the next several years he found himself going into debt. “Having no role models or positive examples,” he said, “made it very difficult.”
Ian met and married his first wife, and they had a son, Benji (6). But Ian was struggling in the marriage and shortly after his son turned one, they split and later divorced. Ian’s main concern, “How can I be the best parent for my kid and give him what I didn’t have?” He said he wanted to make sure he could teach his children financial responsibility and emotional intelligence.
Eventually, Ian met his current wife, Alison and they had Liam, now two-and-a-half. Ian shared that Alison was and has been the stability he has always needed in his life. “She grounded me and got me into therapy,” he shared and that helped him to heal from the multiple traumas from his childhood. This led to Ian being diagnosed with ADHD as well and after that he began to have a better understanding of who he is. “I began to understand the problems I have dealt with since I was a child,” he shared. “It was life changing.”
Ian explained that a friend referred him to MCU. He liked the idea of “banking hours” giving him the ability to be home every night and on the holidays with his family. “I didn’t know the company or who they were or the cool things they do,” Ian confessed.
Ian appreciates being supported by MCU in his efforts to give back and he spends a lot of time volunteering in the community. In addition to volunteering for Finding Home, Rotary Lights and shopping for underprivileged kids, Ian also volunteers in his wife’s classroom every Tuesday where she teaches kindergarten and pre-k children. He said he went into the classroom to mentor a child without a positive male role model and had so much fun he decided to stay involved. “I want these kids to have a positive role model – MCU gives me the opportunity to do so.”
“It’s huge,” Ian said of MCU regarding how the organization cares for their employees. “MCU actually let me do these things. I would struggle without being able to go out and do some good. Being able to help my wife with her students while also being able to help our members … that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he added.