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January #eCOmmunity 2021- Michael Howard


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 2021. 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.”

ēCO Credit Union employees surprised Michael Howard, more affectionately known by all as “Coach,” at the Riverchase Branch on January 25th

Angela Heathcock, Riverchase Branch Manager, nominated Coach to be “Credit Unioned.” She said, “Coach embraces our philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ by supporting those who may be in a place of struggle. His thoughtfulness and willingness to help others is inspiring.”

Heathcock nominated Coach for his outstanding investment in the lives of others around him. Coach and his wife have been members of ēCO Credit Union for over 30 years and both serve in education. Coach retired after teaching and coaching for 40 years, spending the last 25 years at Vestavia Hills High School where he taught Drivers Ed and coached football.

Coach has been married to his wife, Daria, for 36 years. He is quick to take the spotlight off of himself and brag about the accomplishments of his wife and children. His wife is a guidance counselor at Vestavia Hills High School. He is proud to talk about his daughter, who is serving as a missionary, his middle son, who is serving at a church in Snellville, Georgia, and his youngest son, who followed in his father’s footsteps to coach at the University of Central Arkansas.

The Riverchase Branch staff says that Coach visits multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day, always with a smile and occasionally, with a little treat. “I nominated Coach because of his kindness,” says Heathcock. “He is always very courteous and continuously makes sure each of us is doing well, not just the employee that is helping him at the time of his visit. Occasionally, he will surprise us with chocolate chip cookies from Chick-fil-A for no reason, other than he knows it brings a smile to our faces.” 

“I enjoy spending my time helping people,” says Coach. “When I worked at the high school, I worked with the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) program to try and be a positive influence for young people. When I decided to retire, I think God laid it on my heart that I needed to be a positive influence and help to all people, young and old.” 

Coach continues to serve the community by making and handing out homeless bags. The bags are filled with socks, deodorant, lotion, water, snacks, and other items. He says when he sees someone in need he offers them the bag, along with a gift card and a Bible.

“In a time when there is so much negativity in the world, Coach is an example that there are still people, wanting and willing to spread kindness and positivity,” says Heathcock. “He lives out the philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ by going out of his way to check on others, providing homeless bags to those in need, and treating others with little surprises in order to spread joy and kindness.” 

Angela and the other Riverchase Branch employees, Merry, Isaiah, and Emma, were proud to surprise Coach Michael Howard with a gift card, as a small way to say thank you for his dedication and service to spread kindness and joy within the community.

“Anytime I come here they are always so helpful,” says Coach. “When you help people, they want to help you back. I am not doing it for that reason, but I think kindness is infectious. I love to see people laugh and smile, and you’d be surprised at how such a little thing can impact others in such a big way. I have been truly blessed with a special wife, good kids, and great people in my life. This is such a blessing and I appreciate it.” 

ēCO Credit Union is proud to call Coach Michael Howard and his wife, Daria, members and we are grateful for his commitment and investment in his community. 

Thank you, Coach, for the kindness and positivity that you spread within the community!

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