PARSIPPANY, N.J. (12/2/14)--For the last 30 years, 96-year-old Helen Rykowski has worked part time for Garden Savings FCU, Parsippany, N.J. And it doesn't appear she's ready to stop any time soon.
At age 96, Helen Rykowski is Garden Savings FCU's oldest employee. (New Jersey Credit Union League Photo)
The New Jersey Credit Union League featured a Q-and-A with Rykowski recently in The Exchange, after Lou Vetere, president/CEO of the $292 million-asset credit union, alerted the league of her length of service.
"Helen is also our oldest employee, and she celebrated her 96th birthday this past February," he said.
The as-told-to article covers how Rykowski first got involved with the credit union, her current responsibilities and the reasons she continues to drive to the office four days a week, Monday through Thursday.
"Oh, I enjoy it," Rykowski told the league. "These kids keep me young. I'm the oldest one here; I'm older than the CEO. But I enjoy it, I really do. I think what keeps me young is the young kids that I work with. They're all fabulous. Last year I started walking with a cane because I have arthritis in my knees, and they open every door for me and do everything for me. That's what keeps me here."
Rykowski arrived at the credit union in 1984, first working as a volunteer loan officer. On her lunch breaks from her full-time work she'd walk down to the credit union to look at the loans, and either approve or deny them.
Once she retired from her full-time job at age 65, she was asked to work for the credit union part time.
"I've been here ever since," she said. "I've been a part-time employee for 30 years, working four days a week. I enjoy every minute of it."
Rykowski continues to look over loans for the credit union, making sure all the proper paperwork, signatures, titles and everything else is accounted for.
She also has advice for any young people interested in getting into the credit union industry.
"Just be a good employee," Rykowski said. "Be conscientious. Get here on time and do your job. And that's it. They may have to learn. I did my learning when I was their age."