Member: Employee Stories

We love hearing your compliments about our dedicated staff!



Sharhonda Kinnard ESCU’s Downtown Branch Manager


Here’s how I spell AWESOME


I’m sooooo grateful for all you did on Friday afternoon to make my son’s college fund happen….and staying an hour+ “after hours” until you got it done deserves more than just a thank-you!  Please forward this email to your CEO….I want him to know how much I appreciate your service.

Thank you, Sharhonda!!!

Lynn Keesecker




Misty Vaughn ESCU’s Donelson Branch

We were pleased to get this nice compliment on Misty Vaughn, an ESCU Member Service Representative at our Donelson Branch.

Mr. Dubray

I wanted to take a minute to write and  tell you about a member of your team that has excelled in providing me with excellent customer service.

I seem to find myself more and more often wondering if the companies I deal with have forgotten what it means to put the customer first. However, this has never been the case with any of the fine people at ESCU. I have come to expect that when dealing with ESCU my concerns and questions will be answered promptly and courteously.

Even with this already high expectation of ESCU I am simply amazed with the level of service that Misty Vaughn has provided me over the last several weeks. I have recently moved and with that come all of the complications of registering my vehicle in another state. That in addition to a couple other issues created a very tangled web that I needed assistance working out. Ms. Vaughn was on top of them all! She helped guide me through all of these circumstances with incredible efficiency and professionalism. Not only did she completely satisfy everything I required from ESCU she listened calmly as I vented my frustration about the Warren County Clerks Office. (they could certainly learn more than a few lessons from ESCU) She is an incredible asset to your team and deserves recognition for her efforts.

I applaud your company for employing Ms. Vaughn and all the other wonderful individuals I have had the pleasure of working with at ESCU. This level of customer service is sure to earn my future business.

Keep up the great work.


Brandon Wilson

Member: A Dream, Realized.

Hoite's BBQ Family

David and Melinda Wilhoite with daughter, Savannah.

David and Melinda Wilhoite had dreamed of starting their own small business for several years. David, who has worked in the food business for some time, had always dreamed of owning his own restaurant. After years of building pizzas, David hoped to start a restaurant that served his real love, smoked barbecue.

Growing up, David had always enjoyed barbecuing with his Dad. The designated cooks at every family event, David and his Dad perfected their own style of barbecue, which according to his wife Melinda, “has just the right amount of smoke and is tender creating an awesome taste.”

The dream really began taking shape a few years ago, and Melinda and David began to do some research on what they would need to start the restaurant. “It was apparent early on that a brick and mortar restaurant was, from a financial standpoint, not going to be within our initial reach,” said Melinda, “but a concession trailer; that was totally doable.”

Growing up working in her Aunt and Uncle’s family-owned business, BJ’s Trailers in Lebanon, Melinda had learned a lot about what’s involved in running a business. She also knew trailers. Now with a solid idea of what kind of funding they needed for their business, they headed to their local bank for a business loan.

“The bank just wasn’t interested in helping us.” Melinda said. “They didn’t want to use our custom trailer as collateral, and there were no options for getting the money we needed. It was beginning to seem like ‘if you don’t have money, you don’t get money’.”

Discouraged, but not defeated, Melinda contacted ESCU about a business loan, where she was introduced to Sabrina Clarke, ESCU’s Small Business Administration Lending Specialist. Working with the U.S Government’s Small Business Administration Lending group, Sabrina was able to guide the Wilhoite’s through the loan process. With Melinda’s business and marketing plan and David’s budget, Sabrina was able to get the Wilhoite’s not only the money they needed for their custom trailer, awnings, tables and chairs and a sweet tea brewer (an absolute necessity for serving BBQ in the South), they were also able to get the working capital they needed to begin the business.

With money in hand, David and Melinda found a perfect location for the trailer at 145 Highway 109 North in Lebanon near the I-40 junction and signed a lease. The custom trailer made the long trip from lower Georgia to Lebanon without problem, and the Wilhoite’s dream of becoming business owners came to fruition just as the Wilson County Fair attracted hundreds of thousands of guests to Lebanon. Perfect timing for sharing some great food with friends at Hoite’s BBQ.

David and Melinda are glad they were able to use the SBA’s lending program, which allowed them not only to finance the business itself, but the working capital they needed to help make payroll and pay for necessities until the business was making money. And, with the SBA’s longer loan terms, the payments in the early years of the loan are affordable, allowing the time for the business to produce its income.

If you’ve been dreaming of owning your own business, whether big or small, contact Sabrina Clarke at (615) 717-8614 for more information about Small Business Administration loans.

Hoite’s BBQ is located at 145 Highway 109 North in Lebanon and is open Monday – Friday, 10am to 7pm and Saturday’s 10am to 2pm. Check out their menu.