During the 40’s and 50’s it was hard for Blacks to get loans at White financial institutions. Often, members of Metropolitan Baptist Church would reach out to the church to address their financial needs. To alleviate this situation, in December of 1948, the idea of forming a credit union was born. Fifteen founders who belonged to this church pooled their resources in the amount of $226.24. One of those founders was Rufus T. Hart, Sr. who served as longtime CEO off Metropolitan Church Federal Credit Union until his death in 2007.
Over the course of those years, his son, Ronald O. Hart joined his father and worked at the credit union while in high school. He received a full athletic scholarship to play football at N.C. A&T State University. “Sugar Hart” as he was named by his peers excelled both on and off the field. Each summer and during spring breaks, he returned home and worked with his father at the credit union. In 1962 he became a member of Mu Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (Line Name Route 66) and has remained an active member of the fraternity for the past 55 years. Upon graduating from A&T with a degree in biology, he returned to his hometown, taught high school students, coached football and helped his father run the credit union.
Along the way, this Omega Man obtained a M.S. degree, taught school, spent 16 years as a member of Suffolk City Council (serving two terms as Vice Mayor) and continued to help his dad at the credit union. At the age of 55, his father asked him to retire to continue the legacy that was started in 1948. As his father aged, his desire to build a credit union grew stronger. “If the credit union is to survive, we must be in a place where we can control our own destiny” he would say over and over again. His son, kept that thought in mind.
In 2014, the long-term lease with the church expired and the wheels of progress began to turn. A site for a new facility was secured. Plans were drawn and a ground breaking was held. On October 14, 2017, the Hopes and Dreams of the Founders were realized as the new Metropolitan Church Federal Credit Union opened. Citizens from all walks of life joined in the celebration which featured members of Suffolk City Council; Constitution Officers, members and well-wishers from various states. With more than 2,000 members serving eight churches in the Suffolk community, the credit union has assets of nine million dollars. This state of the art facility was dedicated to the legacy and dedication of the late Rufus T. Hart, Sr. and other founders. His son, Ronald noted at the opening “It was dad’s last wish that we have a building of our own. I know today, he is looking down and is so proud of what the Board of Directors and staff have been able to accomplish”. Members of Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi – Suffolk, VA and members of Tau Lambda Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi – Southern MD joined in the celebration of this achievement. “Thru the Eyes of His Father” the mission of People Helping People will live on.
Suffolk, VA - Saturday, December 16, 2017, the Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Mentoring Group, The Golden Fold - Suffolk, delivered Holiday Baskets to some deserving residents of Suffolk. The Men of Omega and their mentees answered the call and blessed several families that could benefit from a little assistance. They delivered approximately ten baskets within the community. The Golden Fold - Suffolk young leaders, with the assistance of the Men of Omega and volunteers known as The Bridge Builders, were responsible for purchasing the items in the basket, wrapping the baskets and arranging each basket for distribution. This served as a great learning experience for the young men. Once these tasks were done, The Golden Fold Young Leaders, with the assistance of their advisors and mentors, personally took each basket to the members of the community. “When the Suffolk Community Calls, the Alpha Iota Omega Men Answer.”
Suffolk, VA - Tuesday, September 19, 2017, the Brothers of Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., joined forces with Sentara Obici Hospital, and the LINKS Organization to fight prostate and colorectal cancer. Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina are among the nation’s three colon cancer hot spots , according to the ACS. That means more people are dying from colon and rectal cancers here than in most other places in the U.S. The Brothers of Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the women of the LINKS organization hit the streets to register people for free prostate and colorectal screenings at Sentara Obici Hospital. 115 men registered, and over 60 attended on the day of the event. The registered participants not only received free screenings, they attended education sessions facilitated by oncologists, and they were also treated to a catered dinner. We did not leave the wives and significant others out. The hospital provided bone density screenings and education sessions on breast health for the women. The brothers of Alpha Iota Chapter are looking forward to more partnerships like this with Sentara Obici Hospital. Early detection saves lives.
Suffolk, VA - Thursday, November 23, 2017 - The brothers of Alpha Iota Chapter, Omega Psi Phi, Inc. came together at noon to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the residents of Magnolia Gardens Senior Living Facility, Suffolk, VA. The men of Alpha Iota Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and their mentor group, The Golden Fold-Suffolk, partnered with The Salvation Army, Suffolk, VA to served Turkey and all the traditional fixing to over 40 senior residents of the facility. The Thanksgiving dinner with the residents of Magnolia Gardens, has been an annual event for the chapter since 2013. The wonderful residents of Magnolia were very appreciative and delighted to be served and honored. Magnolia residents are anxious to see us again next year and we won't disappoint. “ When the Suffolk, VA Community Calls, Alpha Iota Chapter Omega Men Answer! ”
Suffolk, VA - Saturday, November 18, 2017, Alpha Iota Chapter capped off a highly successful year with its annual Achievement Week Banquet and Brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk/Chesapeake. The highlight of the event was outgoing chapter basileus, Bro. Dr. Thomas A. Whitley’s final address to Alpha Iota. Bro. Dr. Whitley stressed the importance of adhering to and genuinely living the fraternity’s cardinal principles. In addition to delivering his final address as basileus, Alpha Iota honored Bro. Whitley with the chapter’s Omega Man of the Year award. Under Bro. Dr. Whitley’s leadership the chapter increased in membership, presented more scholarships to deserving students, and became even more prominent in the greater Suffolk community as it continued to address sociopolitical issues.
Alpha Iota awarded the Superior Service Award to Bro. Dr. Victor Archie. Dr. Archie is an oncologist with Sentara Obici Hospital. Dr. Archie envisioned and spearheaded Alpha Iota’s partnership with Sentara Obici Hospital to address prostate cancer among African American men in the Suffolk / Isle of Wight County area. Alpha Iota and Sentara Obici combined resources to get over 50 men screened for prostate cancer. The effort proved highly successful in raising the health awareness of those that were screened.
Bro. Keith Wilson received the COL. Charles Young award for his leadership of the Alpha Iota Golden Fold. The Golden Fold is Alpha Iota’s mentorship program focused on increasing the self-esteem, confidence, and cultural awareness young men while also promoting scholastic excellence and achievement. The Golden Fold is very active in the greater Suffolk area. The Golden Fold meets twice a month and conducts community service activities on a monthly basis. Bro. Wilson is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Suffolk, VA - Monday, November 13, 2017 - The brothers of Alpha Iota Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. kicked off the 2017 Founders Week celebration with their Annual Coat Drive. The Peanut City Ques have been holding the coat drive for several years now and it has helped hundreds of citizens in Suffolk, VA stay warm. This year was no exception as the men of Omega collected 125 coats, 47 hats, 47 pairs of gloves and several pairs of shoes. Ms. Keana Johnson of the Suffolk Salvation Army stated that the branch averages over 650 people a month who are served with meals and needed shelter items. She further stated that the items donated by Alpha Iota Chapter every year are always well received. “ When the Suffolk, VA Community Calls, Alpha Iota Chapter Omega Men Answer ”