Skip to main content

#eCOmmunity January 2022-Tonya Thomas


ēCO Credit Union has a strong commitment to the communities where our members live, work, and play. We are excited to continue the #eCOmmunity program in 2022. We are proud to recognize those who go above and beyond for their community through the #eCOmmunity initiative.

Each month, members of the community who embody the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” are nominated by ēCO employees to be “Credit Unioned.”

Je’Nae Washington, McCalla Branch Manager, nominated Ms. Tonya Thomas to be “Credit Unioned”. She said, “Ms. Thomas is such a great person, through and through. Anytime she comes into my branch, she is always smiling and being so kind. Such a simple gesture, but it goes such a long way. I’m not sure if she even knows just how much it means to us at the branch. I also admire her heart for others and her willingness to serve and help in any way she can.” 

Mrs. Tonya Thomas has been married for almost 40 years and is the mother of two children and the grandmother of four grandchildren. She has worked in education for over 25 years. She has lived in the McCalla community for over 30 years. Currently, Mrs. Thomas is the 5th-grade math teacher at McCalla Elementary School.

“I’ve known Mrs. Thomas about five years, and I’ve been her principal for two years,” said Reta Hayes, Principal of McCalla Elementary School. “Mrs. Thomas is a strong leader, last year, she taught self-contained due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so I like her versatility of being able to teach subjects that she hadn’t taught before. She is a leader in many other ways in this school, helping with activities, and always saying ‘Mrs. Hayes, whatever you need me to do, let me know’. She has a strong discipline as a teacher because she truly gets the fifth graders ready for middle school. Overall, she’s just a great team player.”

Je’Nae Washington, McCalla Branch Manager, says that Mrs. Thomas has a beautiful spirit and is a light to all of those around her. “She is a great teacher that is always willing to lend a helping hand,” said Washington. “During ēCO’s Change for Children’s fundraiser in September and October of 2021, Mrs. Thomas went out of her way to help our branch fundraise by offering to sell t-shirts at the school. She was so supportive and helpful, and it was very apparent to me how much children mean to her. It was great to have her as a partner to help raise money to benefit Children’s Hospital of Alabama.”

“One of my grandchildren was born with cancer,” says Mrs. Thomas. “After going through that with my family, I thought, if there is ever an opportunity out there, wherever it may be, I’m all in to help children. Especially, Children’s of Alabama. I felt drawn this year to go a step further and try to raise funds by asking the teachers at the school to donate.”

“I bought a shirt last year from ēCO during the Children’s fundraiser,” said Principal Hayes. “When Mrs. Thomas came to me this year with the information about the fundraiser and the t-shirts, I was so excited and glad to see it. She is the first teacher I’ve seen bring it to the school and ask if there was a way to help raise funds, and I’ve been in education for 22 years. Our substitutes bought t-shirts, our faculty and staff bought t-shirts, and people gave donations in general. I’m very grateful she asked, and we could help out. She initiated pulling the family together at the beginning of the year when we were trying to do a lot of team building and getting to know each other. It not only benefitted Children’s of Alabama, but it also allowed our teachers to come together to have that connection as well.”

For over ten years, ēCO has been committed to raising funds that directly support the patients and families at Children’s of Alabama. It is a cause dear to the hearts of the students, faculty, and staff at McCalla Elementary. Currently, there are three students at McCalla Elementary School that have been impacted by childhood cancer. Led by Mrs. Thomas, the faculty and staff at McCalla Elementary exemplified the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ by supporting ēCO’s Change for Children’s fundraiser and lived out their school motto to ‘SWARM’.

Principal Hayes explains that the McCalla Elementary School motto is to ‘SWARM’. The acronym stands for show kindness, work cooperatively, accept diversity, respect time, and make a difference. “Every morning on our announcements, we say we want our kids to ‘SWARM’, we want our teachers to ‘SWARM’, we want our parents and community to ‘SWARM’,” said Principal Hayes. “Mrs. Thomas is a true embodiment of our school’s motto. She is an example to the students and the faculty and staff of what it means to ‘SWARM’.”

ēCO Credit Union employees surprised Mrs. Thomas with a gift basket that included notebooks, markers, pencils, pens, other school supplies, and a VISA gift card on Thursday, February 3, at McCalla Elementary School.

ēCO Credit Union is grateful for teachers like Mrs. Thomas that show kindness, accept diversity, respect time, and, most importantly, make a difference in our communities.

“Mrs. Thomas has such a beautiful spirit,” said Je’Nae Washington. “I nominated her because she has a true servant’s heart. I appreciate her dedication to education and the students, but also her commitment to helping support the patients and families at Children’s of Alabama.”

“Je’Nae has always been there to help, in anything and everything, personally and in the school setting,” said Mrs. Thomas. “Just thank you so much!”

Thank you, Mrs. Thomas, for being a servant leader and working hard to make a difference in the community.

Would you like to nominate someone to be credit unioned? Email your nomination to

View All Blog Posts


Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

Leave comment