CHILDERSBURG, Ala. – In 1976 Coosa Pines Federal Credit Union did not appear as it does today. Change and growth are inevitable and have shaped the financial institution over the last 42 years, but over that time, one pillar of the organization has remained constant.
Tuesday was Bonnie Bryant’s last day as a Coosa Pines Federal Credit Union employee after 42 years. The Childersburg location held a reception for Bryant, honoring her for her years of service and loyalty to the credit union. Coworkers, friends, and family alike dropped in to share memories, stories, laughs, and maybe even some tall-tales from their encounters with Bryant over the last four decades as Bryant greeted them with a smile when they entered the conference room filled with refreshments.
When Bonnie Bryant began her career with Coosa Pines Federal Credit Union things were – well – different.
Bryant was one of the first three employees hired by the credit union and believe you me, there were not five beautiful locations spread across East-Central Alabama serving thousands of people. Back then, the credit union was a startup, located in a tiny room at the former Kimberly-Clark now Resolute Forest Products mill in Childersburg. Then, you had to work at the mill to be a part of the credit union, and this is where Bryant began to meet lifelong friends she has continued to serve since the day she started.
“There was only one office for the mill employees to go to, so you got to know them, their wives, their kids and everybody,” Bryant explained with a smile. “That’s where I made lifelong friends that I’ll never forget. These people are very near and dear to me, and I’ll miss that.”
One of those lifelong friends is country music artist and songwriter Troy Jones. Jones dropped in to CPFCU Tuesday to show his gratitude for the years of friendship the two fostered many years ago. Jones explained Bryant approved his first loan – which he jokingly explained Bryant would not approve without a cosigner.
Jones was quick to point out that Bryant’s infectious positive personality grew their relationship from a business-like association to a bond that stands to this day. Jones, originally from Florida, also spoke on Bryant’s character. He explained Bryant was the first to call and donate as Jones was taking up candy for children in the hurricane-damaged Florida pan-handle in the wake of Hurricane Michael for Halloween.
42 years. One company. That is a rare sight in today’s society. Some may wonder if any regrets could come from working over four decades at the same company. For Bryant, there are no regrets. “It has been an honor to be here for as long as I have, and I appreciate the opportunity for the career I’ve had,” she explained. “It has been a great living for my family and me and I appreciate it very much.”
So what does Bryant have planned for the future which essentially starts right now. She said her immediate plans are to spend Christmas in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with her family after that she plans to do live life to the fullest, just as she has done up to this point.
When Bryant exits the Childersburg location for the final time as the credit union closes Tuesday. She may be on to retirement, but the legacy she has left at her beloved workplace will live on forever.