Betty M. Collins, a founding member of the Health Services Credit Union died on Aug. 17, but her legacy will live on in with a scholarship in her honor.
Collins helped found the credit union which was chartered in 1954 as Blue Cross and Blue Shield Employees Credit Union with a total of $35 in subscribed initial shares, and over the years it has grown to over $125 million in assets as Alive Credit Union located in Jacksonville, Fla.
In recognition of her dedication, Alive has announced that it will endow a healthcare scholarship in her honor, "The Betty M. Collins Memorial Scholarship."
Collins was 92 at the time of her death. She originally moved to Jacksonville in the 1940s, when her boss H. A. Schroeder, a senior executive with Louisiana Blue Cross, was assigned to organize the start-up of Blue Cross in Florida. She remained with Florida’s Blue Cross in Jacksonville for more than 40 years, serving in many roles under succeeding executive officers, including managing several departments. She was recognized in the healthcare field, both through her affiliation with Blue Cross and her long volunteer service at Memorial Hospital, but her affiliation with the credit union is what stands out to Maury Pilver, former CEO of Alive (1982-2010) and now treasurer of the board of directors.
“Betty was on board with the idea of a credit union from the early days when it was just a small operation in the backroom of Blue Cross,” Pilver said. “She knew what was needed and how to make it work. She was very smart and a real southern lady.”
In her eighties, Collins built a home in a New Orleans suburb, relocating home from Jacksonville, Fla., just in time to experience the major flooding of Hurricane Katrina. She evacuated upriver to Baton Rouge on the paddle-wheel riverboat her nephew captained, and was able to return home after weeks of camping on the deck of the boat, riding out the storm and its aftermath.
This, Pilver said, was typical of Collins.
“Betty was great,” he said. “We still tell the story of when members came into the credit union to withdraw money out of their savings you had to convince her you really needed it. A savings account was for savings and she could be determined to keep it for you. That was who Betty was.”