“The headline read ‘Not Exactly the Grandmotherly Type,’” remembers Ray, about the front-page article The Columbus Dispatch wrote about him in 1972, the same year that he joined the Credit Union.
“I was the first male kindergarten teacher in Columbus,” says Ray, who taught kindergarten at Livingston Elementary School for 14 years. “It was a big deal; some school districts wouldn’t even hire male elementary school teachers back then.”
Ray had just moved to Columbus from Newark to begin his teaching career. He says it was his fellow teachers at Livingston who encouraged him to join Education First.
“When I first moved to Columbus, Livingston was a small, close-knit school, all the teachers knew each other well and they all encouraged me to join the Credit Union,” says Ray, who would go on to later recommend the Credit Union to other teachers.
“I remember the Credit Union, at the time, being a very small operation. It had just moved from the Seneca Hotel to an office building on Livingston,” he says. In the early 1970’s, Education First had grown enough to have its own building on Livingston Avenue, prior to that building, the Credit Union was run out of a rented room at the Seneca Hotel in Downtown Columbus.
Ray has since retired from teaching and is currently the treasurer for the Franklin County Retired Teachers Association.
His first loan with Education First was, like many members, a car loan for his first car. He has since used many other Credit Union products and services. “I really like Education First’s VISA credit card, that rate is great,” he says.
Perhaps his most unusual loan was for a tree. “We had a gigantic Ash tree in our yard,” says Ray. “It had been around at least since 1963 when the house was built. It was hit by lightening during a storm one night and caught on fire.”
Luckily the rain from the storm put out the blaze, but the tree had died in the process and needed to be chopped down. The cost and stress of taking down the old tree was made manageable with a loan from the Credit Union. Without even having to take valuable time to come into Education First in person, Ray was given the loan quickly and was on his way to taking care of the repairs.
“The [tree] loan was an easy process,” says Ray. “I literally only had to come in to sign the papers and I was on my way, I really appreciated how fast and easy it was.”