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Remembering Billie… Happy Valley Credit Union names board room in honor of Bartz

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
For some, working on a job is just that – a job.

But for others like Billie Christine Bartz, her job was a life’s calling to leave things better when she left than what they may have been when she first started her career at Happy Valley Credit Union – one that spanned 55 years of Bartz’s life.

For her dedication to the credit union, Happy Valley Credit Union board members and family gathered to honor Bartz on Wednesday afternoon by naming the board room in her name.

Board member Sonja Culler presented Bartz’s daughter, Regina Shepherd, with a plaque commemorating the special recognition.

“It’s an emotional honor,” Shepherd said after the presentation. “It’s a great honor because this credit union was like her baby. She worked here for about 55 years and I just appreciate them taking and honoring her name in naming the board room after her.

“She loved this credit union and the people that are its members.”

According to Shepherd, Bartz was actually working somewhere else and one of the Happy Valley Credit Union board members came to her and said that they needed her to work at their credit union.

“So she went and switched jobs and she was a teller back then and that was when the credit union was in front of the plants,” Shepherd recalled. “She worked her way up and from there they moved to downtown.

“It was in 1988 when she was named as the manager/COO and shortly after that was when she started working on this building and getting it designed and approved and built.

“This building was her vision for the credit union.”

Tonya Jeffers, who has assumed the manager duties at the credit union, spoke about the dedication that Bartz showed to all who ever worked with her at the credit union.

“She was dedicated and instilled in us the dedication and the love for the credit union and the people of the credit union,” Jeffers said.

“She was a super person to work for and took care of all of us and made sure that we did what we needed to do and helped us to understand things on how we needed to work – I just don’t even know what to say.

“Her heart was in this credit union the entire time that I have been here and I have been here for 22 years this year.”

Jeffers shared how that Bartz loved her family and was very family-oriented and wanted the employees to be that way as well.

“This has been quite an emotional spin because she was sick for a while before she had to leave,” Jeffers stated. “She was actually working here at the credit union on that Thursday before leaving that afternoon to go home sick and went straight to the hospital.”

“We will never live up to what she has shown us for sure.”

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