BAKER — The Okaloosa County Teachers Federal Credit Union’s June 21 move out of the Baker Block into its new home next to the Gator Café brought it closer to its roots.
In 1960, Dan Green, a Baker School teacher, had the idea to form a credit union just for teachers. He recruited B.J. Brown, a Baker School mathematics teacher who was about to retire.
“Dan and Mr. Brown would talk on the telephone long into the night, planning and discussing the future of this credit union,” Gloria Reeves, the institution’s second employee, said before her 2004 retirement.
The credit union’s first office was a temporary building erected behind the former Richbourg Middle School in Crestview, current President and CEO Jerry Maughon said.
The Baker branch
The Baker branch office opened 12 years ago in the Baker Block location of the former post office, next door to the Baker Block Museum.
The late David Murph, who’d worked many years for the Bank of Crestview, was the branch’s first employee.
Business took awhile to take off, Baker Block Museum Director Ann Spann said.
“He was into history and he’d come back here (to the museum library) and get books to read, because when it started, things were real slow,” Spann said.
“A lot of people didn’t know we were in the Baker Block,” Maughon said. “Now that we have a nice new building people say, ‘Oh, there’s a credit union here now.’”
Today, Murph’s daughter, Ariel Murph Crews, a 2009 Baker School alumna, is a teller at the branch her dad opened.
“He would be proud of our new building,” she said. “They were talking about building it when he was still alive. We’ve been waiting a long time for it to be ready.”
“We’re very excited for Baker, actually,” branch manager Michelle Evers said. “This is really an upgrade for Baker.”
Okaloosa Teachers Federal Credit Union founder Dan Green was not the institution’s first member.
“I asked Dan one time why his account number was not no. 1,” Gloria Reeves said. “He told me that he did not have the $25 to deposit for the charter fee and John Blackshear did. So John had account no. 1.”
The credit union’s charter members were Baker School teachers John Blackshear, Helen Blackshear, Amarene Griffith, Clinton Doug Griffith, Allen Kelley, James Striplin and Green.