The sun wasn’t the only thing shining May 15 in Murfreesboro when a crew from Redstone Federal Credit Union® took to the streets to spread some cheer.
Redstone’s Brightness Crew donned florescent yellow T-shirts, drove to three gas stations in Murfreesboro, and bought gas for unsuspecting motorists at each location.
The crew was met with disbelief, smiles and even a few tears as they spread brightness wherever they stopped.
Cheyenne Hercules’ car was on empty when she pulled into TJ’s Donut Factory and Exxon station on North Thompson Lane. Ms. Hercules, who is pregnant, was forced to quit her job for medical reasons.
“It makes me want to cry,” she said of the free gas. “I can’t work right now because it’s a high-risk pregnancy,” she said. Her boyfriend works at Walmart, but won’t get paid until later this month.
“I was on ‘E’ and I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Ms. Hercules said.
Redstone Acts of Brightness kicked off on National Random Acts of Kindness Day, observed each February. It’s a day to encourage acts of kindness.
Redstone decided to take the holiday to the next level and celebrate it all year long throughout northern Alabama and Rutherford County. It’s Redstone’s way of showing the communities where they are located just how much it cares.
The credit union sends Brightness Crews out monthly to do good deeds — without asking anything in return except that the recipient looks for ways to brighten someone else’s day.
So far this year, Redstone has bought groceries, lunch, gas and, coffee and donuts for more than 1,350 individuals throughout seven counties.
The next Brightness Crew will descend on Murfreesboro on June 7, the day before Redstone holds a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for its new branch at 1141 Fortress Blvd., suite A.
“It warmed my heart. The day made me realize we were doing more than buying gas; we were impacting lives,” said Mike Panesi, Tennessee market executive for Redstone. “That’s what we want to do for each person we meet, whether they are a member of Redstone or not.”
At the Exxon on Fortress Boulevard, Diane Webb was on her way back to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital to sit with her mother who had recently suffered a stroke. She said the surprise gift meant a lot to her.
“It has been a hard few days,’’ Ms. Webb said.
One woman was on her way to buy her granddaughter a birthday present and another was on her way to the dentist. One man called it a blessing and another said his horoscope told him it would be his lucky day.
Justin Woodliff called it a “revolving cycle” and pledged to pay it forward the next chance he got.
“I try to go out of my way to help people when I can. I’m trying to teach my daughter to help others,” he said, after filling his tank at the Circle K on the corner of Broad Street and South Rutherford Boulevard.
Ethan Moore, Blackman High School senior, got free gas just after finishing his last high school exam. His good day just got better!
Other customers said the gift would help ease their tight budgets.
Middle Tennessee State University senior Eli Levi was on his way to an unpaid internship when Brightness Crew member Brad Mankin caught him off guard.
“This is going to help me make ends meet until I can find a part-time, summer job,” he said.
Homeschool mom Sharon Hubbard said she planned to take her three children out for lunch with the money she saved at the gas pump.
“It will be a nice treat for the end of the school year. We don’t get to do that very often,” she said, adding she might have a picnic in the park.
Redstone’s employees feel fortunate to live and work in so many great communities throughout North Alabama and Middle Tennessee.
“One of the beautiful things about this effort is that we meet so many other people who are out brightening lives as well,’’ said Fred Trusty, Redstone executive vice president. “While buying groceries for residents in April, several people we helped were there buying groceries for others who needed a helping hand … It just shows you what wonderful communities we serve.’’
Redstone Federal Credit Union was born in Huntsville, Alabama when 11 individuals put $55 in a shoebox in November 1951 at Redstone Arsenal. Now the credit union has more than $4 billion in assets, 380,000 members and is among the 25 largest credit unions in the nation.
Redstone opened its first branch in Murfreesboro in 2011 on South Rutherford Boulevard. Earlier this year, the credit union announced plans to expand its presence in Middle Tennessee.
The South Rutherford branch relocated to a larger, easily accessible location at 1749 S. Rutherford Blvd. Its ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration were held Tuesday, May 16.
A second branch opened in April at 1141 Fortress Boulevard in the Blackman area. Redstone also plans to open a third branch on Medical Center Parkway across from The Avenue Murfreesboro and Peter D’s restaurant.
Redstone invites the community to come by either of its Murfreesboro branches to see how they can brighten your day.