Gina Meier

Gina Meier

There aren’t too many people around who can say they work in the same hospital they were born in.

Ginia Meier can say that. For nearly seven years, she has worked in the Food and Nutrition Services Department at Mercy Hospital Lincoln, and she describes her pretty simply.

“I cook, order products and I’m trained to do any of the jobs in the kitchen so I can fill in if I’m not cooking,” Meier said. “I’m the lead in charge when the manager and supervisor are out of the office.” 

Meier takes pride and passion in her job, never doing anything halfway, and enjoys her coworkers. She also likes the small size of the hospital, especially since it’s in her hometown.

“I like the end product (of what I cook). I like being able to do something and have it turn out right. I like when people say ‘Hey, I really like what you did,’” Meier said. “I just really like working at Mercy Hospital Lincoln. It’s kind of like a family. We’re small enough that you pretty much know everybody, so it feels like home. It’s also very close to home.

“Also, we’re here to help our patients. I’m here to serve.”

If there is a Special Olympics event in Lincoln County, or the surround area, be very sure Meier will be close by. Meier has made Special Olympics her life’s passion, and as president of the Lincoln County Roadrunners, she makes sure all the events go off without a hitch.

“Special Olympics take up most of my spare time. When I took over as president, we hosted five sports year-round. I believe we’re now participating in seven sports with the possibility of eight,” Meier said. “Someone has to get certified to coach a sport. They have to be CPR certified. And they have to have backups. I’m the head bowling coach and the assistant coach for Track and Field, and I can pretty much coach any of the sports. 

“I’m not very proficient, but I have fun. I enjoy the athletes and their sense of accomplishment.”

In Special Olympics, the athletes all have different disabilities, and a doctor must sign off to let them participate.

Meier said it is more than worth to see the smiles on every athlete who participates.

“Ninety-nine point nine percent of them are so loving and caring, and they exuberate joy whether they bowl a 50 or 150. They run up and give you a hug,” she said. “It’s that way no matter what sport they’re playing. They still have a sense of competition. They love to win, and they love the medals awarded during competition.  

“It’s just a great feeling to be around the athletes.”

Meier said the success of Special Olympics in Lincoln County wouldn’t exist without the support of the volunteer coaches in the area. She also said it wouldn’t work without the fundraisers and the different organizations who have offered their help as well.

“We host a variety of fundraisers. There was a car show hosted in prior years in which the proceeds were donated to Special Olympics,” Meier said.” We proudly work with Community Opportunities to facilitate consumer participation in sporting events.  I’m honored to be able to help the athletes achieve success and demonstrate their skill, and lot of them making lasting friendships. 

“The Lincoln County R-III School District has also been extremely accommodating to use their facilities for practice. We hosted a tournament in their facilities over a year ago and hope to in the future as well.”

When she’s not working with the Special Olympics, Meier has volunteered at the Lincoln County Fair and the Alzheimer’s Walk. She is also very active at St. Mary’s Church in Hawk Point, where she served on the Parish Council, and she served as chairman of the Fall Festival for three years. She also enjoys decorating the church during holidays.

“When my grandson was young, I volunteered at school daily. I loved it, especially when he was in kindergarten,” Meier said. “The children were like sponges, and by the end of the year they were geniuses. It was just amazing. 

“I just felt the satisfaction of being able to help the youth in our community.”

Meier has two daughters and two grandsons, and she collects salt and pepper shakers.

“I have about 1,500 to 2,000 pairs,” she said. “ I love to read. I love to go boating, although I haven’t had an opportunity in several years. I enjoy spending time with grandkids and Special Olympics. That’s about all I have time for.”

Meier said that, though she has seen Troy and Lincoln County grow by leaps and bounds over the years, it still hasn’t lost its charm.

 “I’m proud to live and work in this community. I personally like that even though Lincoln County has experienced tremendous growth, we’ve maintained a ‘small town’ feel,” she said.