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Bank of Newington breaks ground on long-awaited Springfield branch
Bank of Newington officials (from left) Charlie Waters, senior vice president and board member; Tripp Sheppard, president and board member; Harry Sheppard, chairman of the board; Lynn Sheppard, board member; Margo Metts, board member; and Jaclyn Sease, board member, move some dirt during Thursdays rainy ground-breaking ceremony for Springfields Bank of Newington branch. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — The weather was suited for frogs, ducks and, yes, financial institutions.
During Thursday’s ground-breaking ceremony for a Bank of Newington branch set to be erected in front of the Clarence Morgan Complex on Hwy 21, Bank of Newington President Tripp Sheppard mentioned the rainy conditions. He addressed about 50 people huddled underneath nearly that many umbrellas.
“To me, it’s somewhat fitting that this ceremony would be on rainy day because God knows we’ve certainly endured our share of rainy days to get to this point,” Sheppard said. “You might be saying, ‘Why do you have to bring that up?’ I bring it up because each and every rainy day we’ve had to endure has been an absolute blessing to us. They’ve grown our resiliency, they’ve grown our determination and, I hope, they’ve grown our character.
“I feel like they’ve helped us keep our focus on what’s most important — people.”
Bank of Newington was on the verge of adding a Springfield branch in 2008 when the U.S. economy collapsed. The severe downturn in the housing market forced the bank to reconsider its priorities.
“Believe it or not, I’m a pretty big Kirby Smart fan,” Sheppard said. “One of his slogans is, ‘Let’s focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. That’s about as simple as it gets, yet it’s so poignant. The main thing for us is people.
“It’s the people of this community who have lifted us up and made this day possible. Without this community, we are nothing.”
See the June 6 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.