Memoir for Isaac

Written to Dominic and Kristin by Isaac’s boss Josh Nunn. This incredible tribute of our boy brought us such joy and gave us a glimpse into who he was in the last year of his life.

Kristin and Dominic,

I am writing this memoir of your Son, Isaac Smith, to document and remember the wonderful experiences I had with him during his time at Black Hills Federal Credit Union. I am so grateful to have known and worked with your Son. He personified exactly what we would ask and expect from someone with great character, integrity, ethics, attitude, and personality. Thank you for raising such a wonderful person whom we were able to share time with.

To start, I want to reflect back on the day I met Isaac. From the moment his resume came across my desk, I knew there was something special about Isaac Smith. He applied and interviewed for a Teller Position, and I was immediately attracted to his resume, due to his unique experience, and his extracurricular experience.

Isaac outlined his time at Hyvee, L.E.P.S., and his education, but most noteworthy to me was how Isaac was involved with Mission Work to Haiti. How fitting for a guy who loved to serve and please others. Interviewing Isaac, it was clear that he was shy, quiet, and nervous. He was soft spoken, but made great eye contact, spoke humbly of his experience, and told the truth. Those were characteristics I loved about him, and were a big part of us hiring him.

Isaac was hired as a teller, and primary worked the closing shift, which was 11-5:45. The closing shift was one that most people didn’t want to work, as almost everyone wanted to get off as early as possible. Not Isaac. He conveyed that sometimes he stays up late playing video games or chatting with roommates, and that the later hours worked well for him. What a perfect fit for our group, from an hour’s perspective.

It was apparent right away that Isaac was destined for great things at BHFCU. He worked diligently to learn the teller position, how we operate, policy and procedure, and he was careful to ensure his work was done right the first time. Isaac asked questions, took notes, listened intently, and observed to understand. He was so coachable. I would instruct Isaac on a way he could improve our member’s interaction with us, and he took the feedback and applied it. One example was in building rapport. Isaac was not quite “out of his shell”, and making small talk with members he didn’t know, was not natural for him. We role played, talked about why it was important, and the next thing you know, he is asking members how their day is going, what weekend plans they have, anything special they are doing, as a way to show overall interest in them.

Showing interest in them…that was Isaac. I had many personal experiences staying late with Isaac, as he was working the closing shift, so many times it was just Him and I there. I was able to really build a solid relationship with Isaac, building up the positive things he was doing at the CU, helping him work toward progressing with the company, getting to know him as a person, and him getting to know me. Isaac was a great listener. Many people listen and are quick to respond, but with Isaac, having a two was conversation was so natural, and he truly listened to understand what you were saying.

Isaac and I had many conversations during these times with him working the closing shift, and I loved spending time hearing about his background, his family life, times he would tell me about his parents, his Fathers legal estate planning business, talk about his siblings. Isaac and I had that in common, we were both the oldest, (obviously the most responsible and best looking according to Isaac!), and Isaac learned about my family.

I talked of my wife, three children, their activities, things we liked doing together, backgrounds, Faith. My children were involved in the AWANA Church program, which Isaac knew of, and we talked about what they were doing, learning, how much they liked it. Isaac talked of his growing up in and around Church, and that he was searching for a church home. He professed to me several times of his Faith in Jesus, and how he identified as a Christian. He told me he believed!  I was so thankful to have a fellow employee to bond with, and talk about Faith with. Isaac remembered great detail during conversation we had, as he was able to recall conversations, topics, and info about our chats months later, and he followed up asking about my wife, children, activities, etc.

Isaac prepared diligently for what his next opportunity at the credit union might be, even before the position became available. He gave his best reviewing material, asking questions, and coming to me seeking ways he could prepare. I loved the enthusiastic approach and the excitement from a guy who was eager to learn, grow and succeed. Isaac wanted to better serve our members and our company, and he worked hard to be the best he could be.

Serving…Isaac had a servant’s heart, and consistently tried to find ways to help others. After 6 months at BHFCU, Isaac was promoted to Personal Financial Associate, where he interacted with members doing new accounts, loans, member service and more. He took on more responsibility, and was observed consistently trying to find ways to help our members, either saving time or money, or both. He worked hard and displayed grace to people who interacted with him. He was looked at as a go-to person to help our newer tellers, and when asked he would help answer questions or provide direction. Our newer tellers very much appreciated his help and support, and I was so thankful that I could rely on Isaac to be a leader in my absence. Isaac engaged with our staff, bringing in treats, cookies, bars, sharing his family recipes with us. He would chat with the other members of the staff, and listen to them if they were struggling. Everyone knew they could talk to Isaac and trust him.

There were times where Isaac had difficult members. He would either have to deny a loan, deny a fee waiver request, de-escalate a situation, or whatever else, and he never once raised his voice, talked in a demeaning tone, acted judgmental, or hostile toward anyone he came in contact with.

Isaac interacted with other employees at our corporate headquarters in Rapid City several times. From executive management, to the mortgage department, to the training group. Everyone who interacted with and knew Isaac liked him. They gravitated toward him, and wanted to be around him.  Isaac was known for making an effort to brighten up other people’s day. He would leave notes of encouragement, little fun drawings, and pictures, send funny emails, to make others feel good. I remember him interacting with me in our break room, sharing words of encouragement and offering support to me if there was something I was struggling with. He offered prayer support or offered just to listen if I needed it.

He made me feel good. I felt better after talking with him. I was proud to have him as an employee and friend. I will cherish the time spent with him, and I am so privileged to have known him. Isaac was such a genuinely caring soul, he was mild mannered and kind. He would never speak ill about anyone, and always had a bright outlook.

I am deeply saddened that we have lost Isaac way too soon. He will always have a special place in my heart. God is sovereign, and I cannot wait to see Isaac again, on the other side of eternity.


Josh Nunn