Local talent continues to be showcased at Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library.

In addition to the wall mural created by artist Christina Majic, the Young Adult section at the library now features a creation by local photographer Courtney Valentine. Valentine created a canvas wall hanging at the request of Northeast Community Credit Union to recognize its contribution as a library sponsor.

The photograph was taken near the top of Roan Mountain and features local student Finley Greene, an avid reader and 1st-grade student at Hampton Elementary School, as well as images reminiscent of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.

“The Narnia Chronicles are probably my favorite book series ever,” says NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold. “I love the symbolism, and how Aslam’s good triumphs over all evil. It’s an encouraging takeaway for kids of all ages. Our credit union is a major sponsor of literacy in the areas where we serve, and we’re grateful we could contribute financially to help promote reading. ECCPL is an awesome resource for our county and city, and Courtney is an amazing photographer. She’s definitely the creative force behind our library canvas concept.”

Northeast Community Credit Union donated $100 to Grow Carter County to help support the newly dedicated Storybook Trail.

The Storybook Trail covers a quarter-mile down the Tweetsie Trail in Elizabethton near Harold McCormick Elementary and features 10 trail markers for walkers to explore. Each marker features a different page from a book, and visitors must stop at each marker to complete the tale.

Grow Carter County Chairman Josh McKinney says the trail will allow kids and they family to explore the outdoors while taking in reading opportunities at each of the markers.

“We hope this addition will help make the trail an even greater asset in increasing the community’s health and happiness,” McKinney said.

Northeast Community Credit Union presented a $500 donation to Assistance and Resource Ministries (ARM) as part of their annual partnership with the non-profit agency.

ARM relies on community donations to provide assistance to 700 to 950 people each month. ARM provides meals, monthly food boxes, clothing, baby supplies, vouchers for additional household needs, referrals to other agencies, employment counseling and much more.

ARM Board Member Faye Ingram said the donation will be used to help fill in the gaps where clients need it most.

“This is one of the tougher times of the year,” Ingram said. “There is a lot of need in the community, and this donation will help out tremendously.”

“ARM diligently works to benefit the needy in Carter County and helps with necessities for people who often slip through the cracks in the system,” NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold said. “We are thankful for a chance to help and support their cause.”
To donate to ARM or for more information, call 423-542-0919 or visit http://www.armfoodpantry.com.

NCCU has a long-standing relationship with ARM and has supported the agency throughout the years with fundraisers, volunteer hours and collection efforts.

Northeast Community Credit Union is helping sponsor the TLC Community Center’s Christmas Bundles of Love program.

NCCU donated 1,000 bags to the TLC Community Center to use for the program and will be providing volunteers for the distribution of the gifts. NCCU will also serve as a drop-off location for items for the Bundles of Love.

“Our primary mission is to help improve the lives of our neighbors, financially or otherwise,” NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold said. “There are needs here and we are pleased to be given the opportunity to work with TLC Community Center to help meet those needs.”

The Bundles of Love program collects items for children in need in the local community; such as hygiene items, school supplies, personal items and small toys. The bundles are distributed based on referrals from local schools and to clients who participate in the TLC Summer Food program.

“There are so many families missing basic essentials here in our community,” TLC Director Angie Odom said. “This is about meeting the needs in our hometown.”

NCCU’s Main Office (behind Elizabethton High School) and their Roan Mountain Office will be accepting items for the Bundles of Love, which include shampoo, toothpaste, individually packaged toothbrushes, dental floss, deodorant, soaps, combs, body wash, washcloths, pencils, erasers, notebooks, crayons, socks, gloves, hats, mittens, small toys and other similar items.

The Bundles of Love will be distributed in December to boys and girls aged from toddler to teenager.

Items for the Bundles of Love can be dropped off at either the NCCU Main Office at 980 Jason Witten Way, Elizabethton, or at the NCCU Roan Mountain office at 8301 Highway 19E, in Roan Mountain.

Eastern Eight Community Development Corporation recently recognized Northeast Community Credit Union for their support of Eastern Eight projects and initiatives.

Eastern Eight Director of Homeownership Services Mindy Bowman presented NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold with a plaque recognizing the credit union as an “outstanding financial partner” for their “dedication and commitment to Affordable Housing initiatives in Northeast Tennessee.”

NCCU recently sponsored and helped build a home through Eastern Eight’s Habitat for Humanity program. NCCU volunteers helped construct a home for a Navy veteran in Carter County.

Eastern Eight CDC is a nonprofit organization creating affordable housing solutions for the eight counties of Northeast Tennessee (Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington).

Eastern Eight programs include homebuyer education, financial counseling, mortgage pre-approval, continuing homeowner education and foreclosure prevention and counseling. We also develop and rehabilitate homes, including manufactured housing, and offer a select number of rental properties.

Northeast Community Credit Union is helping to provide community Thanksgiving dinners with Red Legacy Recovery.

NCCU donated dozens of their signature green tote bags to Red Legacy to send home Thanksgiving dinners with their clients after their group meal the week of Thanksgiving.

“Some of our clients probably wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal if we didn’t provide this for them,” Red Legacy Director Samantha Loveday said.

Red Legacy is a women’s-only recovery center that focuses on helping their clients rebuild their lives after incarceration and for those battling addiction. Red Legacy works to provide them the skills to be self-confident, self-sufficient and employed.

Red Legacy is located at 210 South Hills Estates in Elizabethton. For more information on Red Legacy or its programs, call 423-297-1230.

Northeast Community Credit Union celebrated its 66th anniversary, marking more than six decades of serving the area through financial services and community outreach. Coinciding with the anniversary, NCCU once again received a 5-star Superior rating from Bauer Financial, Inc.

Northeast Community Credit Union was chartered in October 1952 as the Elizabethton Teachers Credit Union. Former Elizabethton City School Superintendent Mack Pierce and eight of the city’s school teachers – including current Northeast Community Credit Union Board of Directors Chairman Bill Armstrong – set out to create the foundations of the new credit union.

“At the time, teachers were paid very small amounts, usually averaging $40 a month, and were not paid in the summer as they are now,” Armstrong says. “When it came time to finance their dreams, the educators of Carter County did not have many options available to help them reach their own personal finance goals.”

This is where the vision to start the Elizabethton Teachers Credit Union came to life. The credit union had humble beginnings, operating out of the secretary’s office in the Elizabethton City School administration building. The superintendent’s secretary would take deposits from the teachers a few days a week, write them in a ledger, and keep records of transactions.

“The teachers would make deposits as they could, sometimes just a few dollars, but they were working to reach their own financial goals and to help give the credit union a solid start,” said Kathy Campbell, who was the first full-time manager of the credit union.

These savings transactions provided enough of a balance for the credit union to issue its first loan to one of the original members. John Large, one of the eight teachers there in the very beginning, was issued a loan for $200 to buy a new washer and dryer for his home.

Elizabethton Teachers Credit Union stayed in its first home for many years and continued using ledger books and calculators for record keeping until 1983 when it became the smallest credit union in business at the time to take its operations online to a computer system. The credit union continued to grow and eventually found a new home in downtown Elizabethton, and the charter was gradually updated to allow membership to employees of over 70 local businesses.

In 1996 the name was changed to Northeast Community Credit Union to better reflect the composition of its membership. Membership was opened to anyone who lives, works or worships in Carter County. One year later, the main office at 980 Jason Witten Way was completed, and in one more year the staff at the credit union had doubled. Soon, three new branch offices would be opened from which it now does business as well – a second Elizabethton office, one in Johnson City, and one in Roan Mountain.

Northeast Community Credit Union has repeatedly been recognized for its social responsiveness in the community and for its excellence as a financial institution. In 2012, NCCU was one of only six credit unions nationwide to be awarded the national Excellence in Lending Award. In 2015, NCCU was named the Community Credit Union of the Year, a national award by the Credit Union National Association.

NCCU continues to receive a 5-star Superior rating from Bauer Financial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent credit union and bank rating and research firm since 1983. The 5-Star rating is the highest ranking the banking industry research firm can assign a financial institution and denotes the highest level of financial performance.

“The 5-Star Rating by BauerFinancial indicates that Northeast Community Credit Union excels in many different areas,” said NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold. “The rating places us in the top tier of financial institutions in the United States. We are honored by the ranking and are committed to providing the highest level of service to our members every day.”

According to BauerFinancial, criteria in the financial ratings include such things as profitability, capital, asset value, delinquent loan levels, investment quality, regulatory supervisory agreements, historical data and liquidity. “What this means for the community is that the institution is safe, financially sound, and operating well above all regulatory requirements.”

Northeast Community Credit Union maintains a visible, active presence in its service area by working every day to live out its motto, “Always Here When You Need Us.” Each year, Northeast Community Credit Union donates thousands of dollars back into the community, along with hundreds of volunteer man hours from credit union employees and board members, and with other contributions of assistance or supplies to organizations and individuals in need. NCCU has received designation by the US Treasury Department as a Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI) due to its work with low income individuals and financial assistance programs in the community.

NCCU is a primary provider for financial literacy and education through its work in local schools, colleges, non-profit organizations, associations, ministries and workplaces. Anyone interested in a free class or presentation can call 423-547-1200.

Another way Northeast Community Credit Union reaches out into the community is through the monthly “Helping Teachers Teach” grant. NCCU started out as a credit union for teachers and remains true to its roots by making sure to provide needed assistance to educators, however possible. Northeast Community Credit Union also supports local high school seniors with the William Armstrong Scholarship, a $500 scholarship to help pay the costs of post-secondary school.

NCCU works with several community organizations including the Carter County Imagination Library, TLC Community Center, Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter, Red Legacy, Second Harvest Food Bank, Assistance Resource Ministries, United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County, Shepherd’s Inn, Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center, Relay for Life, Race for Wandell, Carter County Cattleman’s Association, Elizabethton Twins, Elizabethton Kiwanis Club, Recovery Soldiers Ministries, East Tennessee Christian Children’s Home and Academy, and many others to provide sponsorships, volunteers, donations and supplies as needed.

“We have a rich history of service and look forward to a bright future as we continue that tradition. We will always try to find a way to help, and we will always consider YOUR best interests in doing so,” Arnold said.

Northeast Community Credit Union was the sole sponsor for the inaugural Children’s Business Fair hosted by the City of Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.

On Saturday, October 6, dozens of young entrepreneurs gathered in Cat Island Park in Elizabethton to sell their products to the public. For many of the participants it was the first time they had made an effort to share their businesses with the public.

“It is important to us to support the youth in the community,” said NCCU Community Development Director Kathy Campbell. “They all have such great ideas, and they have worked so hard. It is really impressive what they have done.”

Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department developed the idea for the Fair and sought sponsors. NCCU sponsored the Children’s Business Fair, and Campbell met with the participants before the event to discuss the financial aspects of running a business. The children learned about saving, how to price their items, budgeting and other age-appropriate skills necessary to keep their businesses going.

Over 20 children manned the 17 booths that made up the business fair. The booths featured a wide range of goods, including vinyl prints on windows, cardboard deer mounts, beeswax candles, watercolor mobiles, crayon drawings, paintings, wood items, baked goods and more.

Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Kelly Kitchens said the event exceeded her expectations.
“The fair went much better than expected,” Kitchens said. “When we started planning, we didn’t know how many would be interested, or how it would go. I’m really impressed with what the kids were able to create.”

With the first year a success, the Parks and Recreation Department is already planning for next year’s Children’s Business Fair.

Northeast Community Credit Union co-sponsored a voter education event to help inform and prepare the community before the upcoming November elections.

NCCU, along with the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library and the United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County, hosted the event at the ECCPL.

At the event, East Tennessee State University Professor and political analyst Dr. Daryl A. Carter spoke about the importance of voting and possible reasons about why more eligible voters do not participate. Employees from the Carter County Election Commission were available to register any unregistered voters.

“Voting in an important right and one we are thankful for,” said a credit union representative. “We were pleased to help support the community and work together to help potential voters be informed.”

Northeast Community Credit Union is partnering with the Roan Mountain Recreation Foundation to help sponsor the “Happy Trails Park” expansion of the Roan Mountain Community Park.

NCCU Roan Mountain Branch Manager Amanda Blair presented a $1,000 sponsorship donation to the RMRF to help with the development of the park.

“It is always an honor to help improve my hometown,” Blair said “This community is a wonderful place to live. We are pleased to help others see the value of being a part of Roan Mountain.”

Happy Trails Park will be the fourth component of the Roan Mountain Community Park. The multi-purpose park will be located near the corner of Old Railroad Grade and Highway 19E in Roan Mountain.

The park will provide parking for horse trailers and access to over 40 miles of horse trails in Carter County. It will also provide an access point to the Carter County Tweetsie Trail extension and an upstream access for river paddling enthusiasts and for fishing. Future plans include a birding habitat and an historical information kiosk on the Overmountain Men who passed through in 1780.

“The park will make the wonderful place we live even better,” RMRF President Erik Anderson said. “We now need to bring this possibility to fruition.”

Work on the park began last fall. The land has been cleared and the parking lot has been laid out. Andersen estimates $10,000 will been needed to complete the park.