Protecting the Elderly From Financial Abuse

You, or someone you know, could become the victim of a growing crime in America — financial abuse of older Americans.  Seniors are increasingly becoming targets for financial abuse.  As people over 50 years old control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth, fraudsters are using new tactics to take advantage of retiring baby boomers and the growing number of older Americans. Senior financial abuse is estimated to have cost victims at least $2.9 billion last year alone.

What Is Elder Financial Abuse?

It’s a crime that deprives older adults of their resources and ultimately their independence. Anyone who sees signs of theft, fraud, misuse of a person’s assets or credit, or use of undue influence to gain control of an older person’s money or property should be on the alert. Those are signs of possible exploitation.  Older Americans that may have disabilities or rely on others for help can be susceptible to scams and other fraud.   Advances in technology can also make it difficult for seniors to know who to trust and what’s safe.

Despite these threats, taking simple steps to safeguard personal information and being aware of warning signs can protect aging men and women from financial abuse.

Tips for Seniors:

What should you do to protect yourself?

  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed.  Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
  • Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
  • Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  • Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
  • Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
  • Never rush into a financial decision.  Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
  • Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  • Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  • Feel free to say “no.” After all, it’s your money.
  • You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.
  • Trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers often are very skilled. They can be charming and forceful in their effort to convince you to give up control of your finances. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What should you do if you are a victim of financial abuse?

  • Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.
  • Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.

Tips for Family and Friends:

What are the warning signs of financial abuse?

The key to spotting financial abuse is a change in a person’s established financial patterns. Watch out for these “red flags”:

  • Unusual activity in an older person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.
  • ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.
  • Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the customer does not fully understand or need.
  • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain.
  • New “best friends” accompanying an older person to the bank.
  • Sudden non-sufficient fund activity or unpaid bills.
  • Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties.
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.
  • Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.
  • Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an older customer.
  • Refusal to make eye contact, shame or reluctance to talk about the problem.
  • Checks written as “loans” or “gifts.”
  • Bank statements that no longer go to the customer’s home.
  • New powers of attorney the older person does not understand.
  • A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.
  • Altered wills and trusts.
  • Loss of property.

What should you do if you suspect financial abuse?

  • Talk to elderly friends or loved ones if you see any of the signs mentioned here. Try to determine what specifically is happening with their financial situation, such as a new person “helping” them with money management, or a relative using cards or credit without their permission.
  • Report the elder financial abuse to their bank, and enlist their banker’s help to stop it and prevent its recurrence.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services in your town or state for help.
  • Report all instances of elder financial abuse to your local police—if fraud is involved, they should investigate.

 

Show Your School Spirit With A VCNB Debit Card

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate your school spirit and give back to your school, VCNB may have just the thing for you!

With our School Spirit debit cards, you can have a debit card that features your local school’s logo to pump you up each time you swipe your card! There is a $10 annual fee associated with the card but five dollars of it goes back to your school every year.

We are adding more schools all the time but currently have partnerships with Vinton County, Logan Elm, Buckeye Hills Career Center, Circleville City, Jackson City, Wellston, Canal Winchester, Westfall and Teays Valley.

Don’t see your local school represented here? We’re adding more all the time so be sure to comment below and tell us which local school you would like to see us add next! Click here for details.  

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight: Ohio’s Small Town Museum

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When Charlie Morrison was a boy, he wanted to own a museum. So it should come as no surprise that he has championed Ohio’s Small Town Museum since it began down the street as just some shelves in his family-owned grocery store. “I graduated from the school here and didn’t know a thing about my own town,” he said. “People need to know about where they’re from.”

67416041_1451872351618262_3329583880515616768_nToday, the 88-year-old still works most days at the museum he co-founded along with friend Bob Hines and a host of volunteers. Established in 1975, the museum is run by the Ashville Area Heritage Society and a group of volunteers who pitch in to help wherever needed – cleaning, giving tours, curating artifacts and simply keeping the museum ready for visitors.

The museum occupies the corner of Long and Wright streets in buildings that once were the post office and Dreamland Theater which once showed silent movies. It’s packed with photos, artifacts and memorabilia from Ashville and other small towns in the area.

A museum tour with Charlie is a treat for a history buff as he shares stories and personal experiences that give life to the items that line the museum’s cases and walls. In fact, point to an artifact and wait for Charlie to pull from his personal experiences and tell a story.

The old dairy? He’ll tell you about washing bottles there for fifty cents a day and about the horse drawn wagon used to deliver quart bottles of milk to houses up and down Ashville’s streets. “That horse knew the route better than any of us,” he exclaimed.

Charlie was there to assist in digging items like old class photos and a classroom clock from the trash when Ashville High School closed – ask and he’ll show you his and his wife’s senior portraits on graduating class composite photos that were destined for the dump.

cab companytheater seatsHe can tell you about the technology used to test a driverless car on Ashville’s streets in 1969 and about the tinkerer who invented the world’s first traffic light. Charlie’s enthusiasm for the history of his community is contagious as he muses about the stories preserved as well as the ones that have been lost to time.

His expertise on the town was gathered over a lifetime. Born here, he graduated from Ashville High School and took over the family grocery store in the 1950s. He and wife Mona will soon celebrate 69 years of wedded bliss, living in just one place – the home he built for them his senior year of high school. He’s a former town mayor and councilman and the locals call him Mr. Ashville.

That’s why, even though many have worked to make the museum successful, it’s difficult to separate the museum’s story from Charlie’s own story. Luckily, the museum has an arsenal of fascinating things to say on its own.

The prized item here is the world’s first traffic light which was invented by an Ashville man named Teddy Boor. A prolific inventor, Boor used common household items to create a traffic light that looks like something from the Jetsons. It operated continuously from installation in the thirties until 1982 when it was given a permanent home in the museum. Here, it continues to operate and delight museum visitors.

There’s a collection of books by Ashville authors, military memorabilia, antique toys and a display dedicated to James Reeves Hulse V – the only Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz who hailed from Ohio. The Pickaway County man was born March 16, 1915 and, at the height of 4 feet, 6 inches, was ideal to play the part of a Munchkin villager in the 1939 classic.

The last edition of The Pickaway County News, printed July 31, 1969, rests atop an old newspaper proof machine. An entire section is dedicated to longtime Ashville physician Dr. Ralph Hosler while a sign for the Ashville Cab Company occupies a small but prominent spot beneath an antique telephone. Offering 24-hour service, they requested that customers “Call us for pickup and delivery service” at YU 3-2501.

Museum guides will even tell you the story of Buster, the dog who voted for Herbert Hoover in 1928, and of Chic-Chic, the pet chicken who bought his own lunch at a local restaurant for years. Chic-Chic was the pet of Mrs. A.B. Cooper. Every day, Mrs. Cooper would drop a dime on the kitchen floor and say “Chic-Chic, go down to Clyde Brinkers’ and get yourself something to eat.” The chicken would pick up the dime with his beak, and walk to Clyde Brinkers’ restaurant on Ashville’s Long Street where he dropped the dime down on the step. Then he would peck on the door and wait to be fed. Locals still called him the King of Ashville at the time of his death in the 1950s.

67352699_2085485081757304_3404277265918328832_nThere literally is a treasure or charming story in every nook and cranny of the museum and new items are added all the time. One local resident dropped off a vintage camera while we were visiting and someone else had donated a box of pictures from an attic a few days earlier. “When we were getting this started, I think we were in every home and every attic in Ashville looking for things,” Charlie exclaimed with a laugh. “Attics are the best because people put stuff up there and forget about it. Unlike a basement which is always damp, the attic stays dry and the items are preserved.”

Charlie laments how little people know about their own communities – not just in the past but today as well – as modern people prefer television and iPhones to sitting on the porch and visiting; internet shopping over supporting a small business; and driving out of town for entertainment over letting their kids ride bicycles and play with their neighbors.

Yet he recognizes that times have changed and that this is just a natural part of life.  “I just want kids and people in this community to know where they came from, to know about their towns whether it’s Ashville or South Bloomfield or some little town that people have forgotten about,” he said. “I like telling about the little town of Ashville and all the crazy things that have went on here over the years.”

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Ohio’s Small Town Museum is located at 34 Long Street in Ashville. Call them at 740.983.9864, follow them on Facebook or visit their website. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free but donations are welcomed.

Want to help? They are always looking for Ashville area people to volunteer. You can also join the Ashville Area Heritage Society – rates start at $10 a year for senior citizens and $20 for individuals. Families, organizations and small businesses are $25 a year and large businesses are $200.

New ATMs Are Coming To Most VCNB Branches

Exciting changes are coming to the ATMs at most of our bank branches! These modern ATMs essentially are a 24-hour branch for basic services that you can access from your car.

The new machines have larger, easy to read touch screens and a couple of features that our customers are already loving.

With intelligent deposit, customers are able to deposit both checks and cash without an envelope. Because of this, immediate access is granted to all the cash you deposit. Better yet, up to $500 of a check can be immediately accessed.

That means when depositing a check, you can immediately withdrawal up to $500 of that amount!

VCNB Vice President of Operations Bryan Radabaugh said that the new machines have been well received so far. “People seem to be loving it. They’re easy to use, easy to read and they give you access to your funds much more quickly than the old machines,” he said.

Making a deposit with these machines is easy. Simply insert your debit card, hit deposit and follow the prompts on the screen. Because deposits are not in an envelope, the machine reads each check and each bill individually, allowing the machine to calculate the deposit amount and allowing the customer to know their money is all accounted for in the deposit. If the customer disagrees with the machine’s calculations, there is an option to request the funds be returned to the customer rather than proceeding with the deposit.

The customer’s receipt for the completed transaction indicates the number and type of bills deposited, along with images of the checks they deposited.

This is a far cry from the old style machines which require customers to place their money in envelopes. Because the machine cannot tell whether the envelope is empty or full or whether the amount the customer types in is the correct amount, customers using the old machines have to wait to access their funds on the next business day.

Radabaugh said that his reports show ATM deposit usage has seen impressive increases in the branches with new ATMs. “We’re seeing a lot more people deposit in the evenings after the bank closes and even in the morning before hours. Sundays are also busy because many people are simply unable to bank during conventional hours,” he said.  “We don’t want anyone feeling like they’re not welcome in a branch but this is another channel for someone who struggles to make it into the lobby.”

The project, which started last fall, will be completed in early 2020. Branches with completed ATMs are Pataskala, Logan, McArthur, West Fair Avenue in Lancaster, Bremen, Laurelville, Commercial Point, Circleville and Grove City. A new ATM will be installed in Ashville in time for the opening of that new branch this summer. Customers at any of the above branches can request a demonstration from branch staff. Our employees will be happy to help you!

 

VCNB Customers Can Access Over 32,000 Surcharge Free ATMs

VCNB rolled out something earlier this year that’s been a game changer for many of our customers. It’s called MoneyPass®. Have you heard of it?

No?

Well, keep reading because we think you’ll like what we have to say.

MP_2CF(lg) [Converted]Moneypass is a network that allows VCNB customers to use more than 32,000 ATMs nationwide surcharge free! It’s easy for you to use and will provide you with access to an ATM nearly anywhere you go in the United States.

This means you can still access your VCNB accounts via an ATM without paying a surcharge when you’re on vacation, away at college, traveling for work or visiting family coast-to-coast.

Here’s how it works!

  1. Visit their website or download the MoneyPass app.
  2. Search the zip code where you need an ATM.
  3. Choose the ATM you wish to visit!

MoneyPass will even give you driving directions to your destination. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Visit the MoneyPass website to get started or visit the App Store on your mobile device to download the MoneyPass app today!

Small Business Spotlight: Raccoon Creek Outfitters

Small businesses are important to communities and running a business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!

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Small business owners tend to be passionate about their work. Even so, it’s hard to match the enthusiasm and pure joy of Bobbi Hoy when she talks about Raccoon Creek Outfitters, the Vinton County business she and husband Dustin started together.

What began as a dream is now in its third season and growing every year. “People thought we were crazy when we opened. We started in April 2017 with 28 canoes and eighteen kayaks. Now, we’re in our third season and have 106 boats. There are times we have them all out on the water at once,” Bobbi said. “It’s amazing how much we’ve grown.”

2.jpgRaccoon Creek Outfitters does it all.  They offer kayak and canoe rentals, a store and campground. They even offer their grounds for event rental.

The livery offers canoe and kayak rentals for five and seven mile routes, giving customers everything they need for a leisurely trip down the Raccoon. “This is a good creek to start on. It’s not fast moving water so you can go at your own pace,” she said. “One thing that makes it a little different is that we left the tree tops. That means it’s not just a lazy river. You have to paddle, to steer, and that makes a more enjoyable experience.”

All skill levels are welcome at Raccoon Creek Outfitters but they are pleased to introduce their passion to the beginner. “It’s ok if you’ve never even held a paddle before. We’ll take you out to the landing, show you some techniques and let you practice before we send you out,” she said.

3With 34 acres situated along the peaceful shores of Raccoon Creek in eastern Vinton County, it’s an ideal place to camp. Primitive campsites are available along the creek banks while RV sites with electric hookup are available as well.

A shelter house and large kitchen are available to rent for events such as reunions, parties and festivals.

Plus, the store offers a large variety of Bonafide and NuCanoe kayaks, life jackets, fishing gear and other supplies. They also sell Bending Branches Paddles, Yak Attack gear, Anchor Wizard anchoring systems and Venom Lures.

But the Raccoon Creek story isn’t really about the boats and other tangibles the business offers. It’s actually about the people and the exploration of the natural world they encourage here.  “We say that you may come here as a stranger but you will leave as family because if you’re a friend of ours, you are family,” Bobbi explained.

Their sense of friendship and family extends to their team as well. “We don’t have employees or staff. We are a team here and everyone is valuable to the team,” she said. “My husband and I always had jobs where we worked for someone else so we know how important it is to feel valued. That’s why everyone has a say and that’s part of the reason everyone loves coming to work.”

boat 1.jpgDustin Hoy worked for and managed another canoe livery for several years, learning the ropes in hopes of someday pursuing his dream to own his own livery. “Dustin is the backbone. He’s knowledgeable in every aspect of the boats and, if he doesn’t know it, he’ll learn. It’s his passion, his dream, and I’m lucky enough to be living it with him,” she said with a smile.

It is a family affair as Bobbi’s brother manages the business while her two kids help out as well. “Family is everything to us and we are proud to have our family working with us and cheering us on,” she said. “We wouldn’t be here if not for Dustin’s mom (Arretha Hoy) who helped us get this place and for so many others who have helped us along the way. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here.”

She also credits those who help to promote the business every chance they get. For example, her sister Adeanna Chandler was the first customer they put on the water and one of their biggest fans. “She has a stack of business cards and she gives them to everyone she sees. She advocates for us in so many ways and my appreciation for her is big to say the least. My parents Dean and Carol Chandler, also tell everyone about us. It means the world when people have your back!”

The Raccoon Creek Outfitters team consists of Mark Chandler, Rose Chandler, Cecilia Chandler, Bret Chumley, Brett Coleman, Justin Turner, Clinton Lester, Tessa Hoy, Alina Hoy, Okey Fitzwater and Arretha Hoy. They also credit their Pro Staff Team of Matt Davis, Reed Carpenter, Michael Jennings and John Shef.

When talking about the people who have made a difference, she mentioned several customers who have supported the company from the beginning including one family from Canada that comes every year as well as locals who come as often as they can.

“We are truly blessed. Life is so short, you have to learn to appreciate the little things and the wonderful people who surround you. Blessings come in all forms and we are overwhelmingly blessed,” she said.

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The company makes an effort to go the extra mile and to give back for all the good fortune they have enjoyed. From serving breakfast to campers every morning to free movie nights to helping out with community events, Bobbi said that her team enjoys staying busy and being involved.

They also offer a number of discounts including a ten percent discount for paddling their vessels to current military, veterans, nurses, law enforcement officers, EMTs, firefighters and teachers. Discount rates are available for 4-H clubs and large groups too.

Free Movie Friday is open to the public. Movies are family friendly and usually start around 9 p.m. every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, weather dependent. Both visitors and the community are welcome to bring a chair and snack to enjoy this free event.

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Conveniently located near Lake Hope State Park, Uncle Buck’s Riding Stable and Dance Barn and the Moonville Tunnel, the staff encourages customers to take advantage of other activities in the area. It’s also just a short drive to the Hocking Hills State Park and to Ohio University in nearby Athens. “Whatever people are doing, we just want to help them get outside and to enjoy nature,” she explained.

Visitors will hear countless species of birds as well as frogs, whippoorwill and the gentle splash of an occasional fish jumping in the water. “There’s nothing like floating. I love being on the water. It’s so peaceful to hear the birds and the wind in the trees and to just become one with the water. I sound like such a hippie,” she exclaimed.

Visit their website or follow them on Facebook to keep up with upcoming events like Capsize Cancer and many others.

 

 

 

Darlene Merckle To Retire After Fifty Year Banking Career

When Darlene Merckle came to work for the Bremen Bank, she was a student at Fairfield Union High School who landed a part time job at the bank. On June 15, she will celebrate her well-earned retirement after a fifty year career with the bank.

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The kindness and professionalism of Darlene Merckle will be missed after her retirement from the bank this week.

Darlene’s name isn’t one that most customers know. However, scores of loan customers over the years have benefited from her expertise, hard work and dedicated approach to her job. That’s because she is an Indirect Loan Processor. That means she’s part of a select team of employees who are responsible for processing the loans that customers receive after applying at the dealership where they buy their automobile, RV, boat, motorcycle or other type of vehicle. While the loan documents can be signed at the dealership, there remains much work on the back end to insure that the loan is processed properly and the dealership paid.

But Darlene hasn’t always worked behind the scenes making dreams come true for customers.

She actually started at the bank at a time when employees had to be trained to do a lot of different jobs. “Back then, you did everything. Teller work, bookkeeping, you name it. We had to be able to do it all,” she said.

In those days, bookkeeping was a manual affair where posted checks were checked against hand written ledgers. She recalls the bank using lots of large machines such as a proof machine which was used to process checks at banks prior to the advent of computers.

Since then, she has moved around some within the bank and has seen more changes in the banking industry than she can count.

At the Bremen Bank on Main Street in Bremen, she recalls several remodeling projects, town floods, the addition of new branches and the many shifting responsibilities of staff. She even recalls a time when a stray cat had a litter of kittens in the crawl space underneath the bank. “Lots of good memories,” she said with a chuckle and a twinkle in her eye.

While Darlene started as a teller, she also worked in new accounts for a period before finding her niche in loan processing. At that time, a customer’s loan documents were kept all together in large paper files. As the bank grew, it became necessary to begin breaking out files by loan type and to change the filing system. Later, computers made it easy to scan and file documents, altogether eliminating the need for paper records.

She also recalls the many regulation changes that impact how a customer applies for a loan and the kind of information needed from the customer. “There was a time when there were no disclosures given, no application. There was just a note you signed promising to pay it back,” she said. “And I remember when we first started having customers fill out an application. It was a hard thing for some of our customers because they had never had to apply.”

Today, buyers can apply for a VCNB loan from the dealership. It’s a quick process that provides the customer with a convenient way to borrow money from VCNB when and where they need it and without making a trip to the bank.

Once the borrower is approved and they sign the documents at the dealership, Indirect Loan Processors like Darlene take over. They build the loan into the bank’s system and pay the dealership from their office in Lancaster.  “I like doing the behind the scenes work and I’ve always been fascinated by numbers,” she said. “It’s been a good fit.”

With just a few days left on the job, Darlene says she is looking forward to retirement. “It’s time to retire. Sometimes you just know. There’s not a reason I want to go now but I don’t want to wait too long either. I don’t want to wait until it isn’t fun anymore,” she explained. “Fifty years is enough time.”

The Fairfield County native looks forward to spending time with family including her two grown children and her five grandchildren as well as Mark, her husband of 45 years. “I’ll miss the people. Yes, I will miss my coworkers. A lot of them are like family,” she said wistfully.

And Darlene’s coworkers will miss her too.

Vice President of Indirect Lending Trisha Kyer is visibly saddened when speaking of Darlene’s upcoming retirement. The two have worked together for 25 years, forming a bond that extends beyond work. “She’s a good person and once you’re friends with her, she’s there for you for life,” Trisha said. “I think she knows everyone in the bank and they all lover her. I know this is best for Darlene but we’ll miss her.”

The bank will celebrate Darlene’s fifty year career with a reception at our West Fair branch in Lancaster on Friday, June 15 from noon to 3 p.m. The public is invited to stop by for cake and to wish Darlene well as she starts a new chapter in her life’s book.

“Who would’ve thought that little seventeen year old girl would still be here all these years later?” Darlene asked. “It’s hard to believe!”

Debbie Harmon To Retire Friday

Debbie HarmonDebbie Harmon’s career has been a long and winding road since she started out as a Performance Dance major in college. Debbie will soon retire from the VCNB Family after a successful banking career and, while it isn’t the line of work she studied for, Debbie says her career working with customers has been rewarding.

She appreciates the community aspect of working for a community bank. “I like that the community is important to us and that people matter,” she said, pointing out that the branches are encouraged to support their communities and individuals are rewarded for their volunteerism.

“Community banking was a good move for me,” she said of her decision to take a position at VCNB about nine years ago. Prior to working for VCNB, Debbie was employed by a big bank and before that by Ohio State University as Coordinator of Student Loan Services.

Many of Debbie’s customers will remember her as Head Teller and later Branch Service Manager at Canal Banking Center. She moved to the Pataskala branch about a year and a half ago to help out as Branch Service Manager during an interim period.  “I liked my job before but had the opportunity to do more, to make the last year more interesting and to do more than I’ve always known,” she explained.

Helping people is a passion that has made Debbie a good community banker. “I like helping people, especially when I can take a customer’s problem or question and guide them to a solution from beginning to end. I don’t like to pass a customer off to another department or another person but enjoy working through the issue for them,” she explained.

Her eyes light up when she talks about the free time she will soon have. “I’m looking forward to having more time to take care of myself better. It may sound fuddy-duddy but I’m looking forward to being at home too. I love going and doing things, especially visiting places I’ve never been. It’s a big world and there are a lot of things to see and do but I like home too,” she said with laugh. “I’m not at all worried about how I’ll fill my time.”

Debbie reads a lot and enjoys writing as well. She and husband Guy have been married for 40 years and they have two children. She looks forward to having more free time with her family as well as time to work in her flower garden.

“It’s been easy coming to work here. Good friendships, good relationships, good customers – that’s truly been a blessing. But it’s time. It’s time to retire. Nothing has changed. I still like my job and still want to do a good job. You don’t always know why but you know it’s time to start a new chapter and now is the time for me,” she said.

Debbie will officially retire on May 31. A reception will be held on May 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pataskala branch of the Friendly Bremen Banking Center to honor both Debbie and Crystal Gregor who will retire the same day.

Crystal Gregor To Retire Friday

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When VCNB opened its Pataskala branch in 2006, Crystal Gregor was there to help move into the office and to greet new customers. She had just made the move from a big bank to VCNB, training at our Lancaster West Fair branch before helping open the newly constructed office in Pataskala. That means May 31 will mark the end of an era for our Pataskala customers and for Crystal as she will retire after a 32 year career in central Ohio banking.

While she is excited to retire, the longtime Head Teller at the Friendly Bremen Bank of Pataskala still gets a little teary eyed when she speaks of leaving her customers and coworkers.   “I am looking forward to retirement but will miss the people so much. My coworkers are a little like family and I just love everyone I work with,” she said. “

She also feels a fond attachment to many of her regular customers, smiling as she mentioned a few who she will particularly miss. “I’m here for the customers. It’s my job to take care of the customer but it’s not just a job for me. I love taking care of people and I’m really going to miss this part of my life.”

While Crystal will miss her customers and work family, she looks forward to spending more time with the people in her personal life, especially her husband Glen who she calls “the best” and her 86 year old father who she calls “the most gentle, kind man.”

Crystal has three sons in Pickerington, Worthington and Texas. She intends to visit her Texas son later this year. She also has four grandkids who she is already making arrangements to have quality time with. And then there are her three best girlfriends with whom she’s making plans for some fun adventures this year.

“It’s been such a journey and I’m lucky to have learned so much along the way,” she said. One of those lessons, she said, is to not let others make you feel bad. “Never let anyone get you down when you know you’re a good person and doing the right thing,” she said. “You have to be true to yourself.”

Another important lesson relates to money and kindness. “Money only means so much. If you’re not doing a service of kindness for another human being, what are you doing? Why are you here?” she asked.

Her last piece of advice?

Enjoy every day. “You get one life. Enjoy every day,” she said. “Coming to work here was truly a blessing. I feel like I’m where God wants me to be. But I also feel like it’s time to do something different and I look forward to what that might be.”

If you’re in the area, help Crystal celebrate her happy day with a reception at the Pataskala branch of the Friendly Bremen Banking Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 31. The reception will also celebrate the career of Debbie Harmon who will retire on the same day.