Meet Wilbert, member since 1959…
On Labor Day in 1958, Wilbert left for a family reunion and by the time he returned home later that day, he had a teaching job at Columbus City Schools.
“When I came home I had a phone call from [Columbus Superintendent] Herb Young asking if I was still looking for a teaching job,” says Wilbert, who had recently graduated from college.
“Yes,” he told Young.
“Can you be down to the office tomorrow?”
The following day, Wilbert drove from Morrow County, Ohio to East High School in Columbus. It was the first day of school.
“And I taught history at East for the next 7 years,” says Wilbert, who re-located to Columbus with his wife and children after he was offered his new job.
Wilbert joined the teacher’s Credit Union, (now Education First) soon after he began working in Columbus. He says that the Credit Union helped him make ends meet in the early days of his career as he was raising four children on a Columbus teacher’s salary.
“The Credit Union gives teacher’s a place to go when needed,” says Wilbert. “It is never easy for anyone to ask for money, but a Credit Union can make things a little easier by being friendly and understanding.”
In the following years, he would play a pivotal role in approving loans as an Education First Credit Union credit committee member.
“I started volunteering as a committee member back in the late 1970’s,” says Wilbert, who was by then working on the administrative side of Columbus City Schools, in the Food Services Department.
“A co-worker of mine was on the Credit Union [Board of Directors] and recommended that I volunteer.”
The credit committee is a group of credit union members who volunteer to review potential loans and either approve or disprove of the loan based on their analysis.
“You know, [Education First] is a specialized credit union, for educators,” says Wilbert. “Most of our members were school workers and teachers, so when they had a need we would do our best to hear them out. Most were faithful in working and paying back their loan. We didn’t have many bad loans that went unpaid.”
Wilbert would later go on to be an Education First Board member as well. After over 60 years of being an Education First member, he says what he appreciates most about being a credit union member is how personal the experience is and how the Credit Union truly takes the time to listen.