Welcome to THE COMMONS — News and Views from Windham County, Vermont

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BRATTLEBORO—This year marks an important milestone for Betty Chamberlin of Vernon. She has worked and/or volunteered for Members 1st Credit Union for 50 years.

The credit union was founded in 1957 for employees of The Book Press. Chamberlin was the credit union’s first paid employee in 1972. She worked for many years as CEO (including a year without pay).

“I remember starting in the Book Press Building and working in a small office,” Chamberlin said in a press release. “I could reach out with both arms and hit both walls.”

The company then built a larger credit union bureau for its members, who at first were all employees of The Book Press.

“After a few years, we moved to an office on the lower level of the current King’s Electric building,” she said. This was around the time the credit union changed its name to Graphic Communications Credit Union and expanded membership to employees of other Brattleboro-area print shops.

When The Book Press closed in the mid-1990s, membership eligibility was expanded to include all residents of Windham, Windsor, Bennington, and Rutland counties in Vermont; Sullivan and Cheshire counties in New Hampshire; Franklin County in Massachusetts, and the credit union was renamed Members 1st.

Shortly after, when the corner plot of Browne Court became available, Chamberlin said the council “bought it and had the present building built. After a few years, we decided to add a two story addition on the east side.

After retiring from the credit union, Chamberlin continued to serve on the Board of Directors of Members 1st in several positions as well as volunteering with the Vermont Credit Union Association.

She says she has seen many changes in financial regulations, practices and policies. However, his friends and colleagues say one thing has not changed, and that is his dedication to helping credit union members/owners in any way possible.

Ted Wunsch, former president, recalls that “Betty never wanted your credit score to be a deciding factor in getting a loan.”

David Cotton, the current chairman, said he appreciated that “Betty has always discussed financial issues with me in plain, easy-to-understand language.”

Outside of the credit union, Chamberlin has a long history of volunteering in southern Vermont, particularly in the city of Vernon where she has worked with Brattleboro Area Hospice since 2002. She has held several positions with Vernon Seniors and has been very active with various fundraisers for the March of Dimes and the Lupus Foundation.

Chamberlin continues to advocate for small credit unions everywhere. Over the years, she brought her talents, professionalism and experience to the Vermont Credit Union League (now AVCU) from 1989 to 2001.

She is now “semi-retired” from Members 1st, but all of the directors, volunteers, members and staff who have many fond memories and stories about Chamberlain know that she will always be a part of the credit union she has. helped to build and develop. over the last half century.

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