One of the perks of small-town banking is customers’ ability to recognize the familiar faces of the tellers and officers who conduct financial business for them. Debra Henry was one of those folks at Durden Banking Company’s Twin City branch for years. However, she recently transitioned into a new role in an entirely different field. (Not to worry, DBC customers—there remains a number of committed, familiar faces in her absence.) Henry’s first day as East Georgia Healthcare Center’s accounts payable specialist was September 1, and she now calls the Swainsboro office home.
Henry was born and raised in Garfield but decided to make the “big move to Twin City” shortly after graduating from ECI with honors in 1987. From there, her career path was clear and concentrated on numbers.
She went on to attend college at night, studying to become a bookkeeper while working as a newlywed at Twin City Drug Company. Henry eventually graduated from East Georgia with an associate in business.
Her “love for numbers” led her to accept a position at DBC in Twin City in 1996. She started in the loan department, where she learned the basics of the banking world. After a couple years as a loan clerk, Henry became a loan administration officer and served in this position until her recent departure.
“One day, it hit me that I needed something different. With the changing of everyday life, I decided it was time for me to make a change. Some days I would wonder what it would be like to do something totally different in my day-to-day duties. I even considered retiring, but I’m just not ready for that,” Henry explained. “I tossed around the idea of applying for a different job somewhere… Then, I would think, ‘No way!’ I would convince myself I was too settled in my normal routine and tell myself there was nowhere out there that would want to hire someone at my age, anyway. My curiosity got the best of me and one day, I decided to just see what was available in a totally different atmosphere with different people, just a change with a different pace.”
As a result, she applied to three different places. Within the same week, she had three interviews. The quick responses came as a total shock.
Henry went to her first interview and admittedly was a little nervous. She would nail her first job interview in 25 years; the company called that same afternoon and asked her to take the position, but because she had already scheduled an interview with a second place, she asked for time before making a decision.
That second place would be East Georgia Healthcare, and Henry says she lost all hope soon after walking through the door. As time went on that day, belief in herself returned—and she ultimately landed the job.
“I walked in and the lady at the front desk gave me a clipboard with a test to take. I thought, ‘What!?’ Then, I really thought to myself after taking the test that I had just lost all thoughts of even being considered for this position! As soon as they called me back, I asked how I did on the test and when they told me i made a 100, I thought they were joking. When Jill Sorrells said she only remembered one other person she had interviewed in all of her years at EGHC that made a 100, I thought, ‘Wow! I can really do this!’ Within the first 15 minutes of that interview, I knew immediately this was where I wanted to be and within two hours of my interview, I got the call and was offered the position as accounts payable specialist.”
She began her new position at EGHC on September 1 and will be working in the Swainsboro office. Henry says she is excited to serve all of EGHC’s sites in accounts payable, and she adds that the EGHC family has welcomed her in a great way.
“I truly believe God had a big hand in all of this. Everything just fell right into place. He gave me the confidence to believe in myself that I can do anything I want to do, no matter your age. You are never too old to learn something new. Starting over is not always a bad thing. I am not one who likes changes at all, but sometimes that’s what we need,” Henry continued. “After just a few weeks of being here, it is definitely my new home away from home. I am glad I accepted this new challenge of learning so many new things. My supervisor, Tabitha Johns, has helped make this transition for me very smooth. She told me just recently that she also knew within the first 15 minutes of my interview that I was the one she wanted to hire.”
Be that as it may, Henry looks back on her decades with Durden Banking Company with fondness and appreciation. She says she has missed seeing some of her routine customers, and her time at DBC taught her a lot, including knowledge that will be beneficial as she travels this new journey in life.
Most importantly, Henry says she could not have made this life change without the love and support of her husband of 33 years, Dave; 22-year-old daughter, Hannah, who is set to graduate this December from Central Georgia Technical College as a physical therapist assistant; and other family members and friends.
In her spare time, Henry can be found working in the yard, watching a good rodeo, and spending time with loved ones. She also helps with the logistics of running two organizations as a family: East Georgia Crossfire, a travel softball club, and Powerline Pitching Academy.