Meet Tom, member since 1961…
Tom joined Education First in 1961 at the beginning of what would be his long-standing career as a Columbus Public history teacher and football coach.
Starling Middle School veteran teacher and fellow coach, Charlton “Schmidty” Schmidt got him started with the Credit Union.
“About a week into my new job, we’re sitting in the coach’s office and Schmidty says, ‘Are you a member of the teacher’s Credit Union? Well you are now!’ He gave me a membership card. ‘You owe me $5 bucks’ he said and that was it. I’ve been a member ever since.”
Shortly after joining, Tom put his membership to good use with a small loan for a washing machine.
“In those days, the Credit Union was still housed in [Credit Union Founder] Herb William’s kitchen,” says Tom. So, Tom trekked over to Herb’s kitchen and over a handshake was given his $150 washing machine loan.
“That’s what’s great about a credit union,” says Tom. “A new washing machine, an unexpected medical bill, your car breaks down, with these small emergency loans a bank might not even give you the time of day, but a credit union will usually come through.”
Before joining Education First, the concept of a credit union was not new to Tom.
“I grew up around it,” says Tom. “My father was the treasurer of the railroad worker’s credit union.”
“I witnessed many loans being made in our own living room,” says Tom, who grew up on the southside of Columbus.
“Early on, my father explained to me how a credit union works,” says Tom. “As members, we’re all co-owners of the credit union, we all put our money in and when someone hits hard times and needs to borrow money, the credit union is there.”
Tom would go on to be an Education First board member after he was nominated by his fellow Columbus Public football coaches.
“After all these years, what I still like about the Credit Union is that you are a member, not a customer. The Credit Union always made me feel like I was a part of the organization.”