Monika Griner, our State Agency Area Consultant serving School Nutrition Programs in Southwest Georgia shared this heartwarming encounter from the field. She titled it "I Met a Hero Today", telling the story of the resilience of Georgia School Nutrition Professionals.
You'll want to read to the end.
"I want you to meet Ms. Christine Robertson from #PelhamCitySchoolNutrition
Ms. Christine works as the Assistant Manager at Pelham City Elementary School in Pelham Georgia. A close-knit community in South Georgia, the Pelham Hornets have much to be proud of and that includes Ms. Christine. A beautiful lady boasting 75 years of a life filled with love and hard work. She will be completing 54 years of dedicated service to the Pelham City School Nutrition program at the end of the 2022 school year. Yes, that is correct….54 years and all years spent at the same school cafeteria. Ms. Christine has built a legacy at Pelham Elementary that rings true when talking with her co-workers, teachers, and staff members.
When I arrived to visit with Ms. Christine, I could hear her giving directions in the kitchen to “season that chili so it tastes better. We want our food to taste good for these babies, got to get it right. ” It was evident from hello that her heart was filled with love for her job and for the students who count on delicious meals in “her” cafeteria. The kitchen staff smiled as she offered direction and responded with kind words for Ms. Christine, “She is our girl, she keeps us straight.” Robin Stokes, School Nutrition Director
stated, “It has been a privilege to work with “Miss Tine”. She has truly been an inspiration to me. She comes to work every day with a positive attitude regardless of the circumstances she may be facing. I am blessed to know her and to work with her.”
In addition to keeping things straight in the kitchen, Ms. Christine is busy keeping things straight outside of work as well. She is busy with grandkids, three of which live with her, going to their birthday parties, eating out, and making sure she doesn’t miss her kidney dialysis appointments three days each week. You see, Ms. Christine is working and living life without her kidneys. She lost both due to cancer approximately three years ago, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. Dedication beyond expectation describes her attitude toward work. Ms. Christine starts dialysis at 4:30 am three times each week so that she can complete it in time to arrive at work by mid-morning…just in time to make sure the lunch meals are started and to conduct her much-anticipated taste test before it is served. She stated that life changed for her when she lost her kidneys, but she was determined to keep living and thriving as long as possible. The one change that bothered her the most was her now limited freedom to travel to visit family and friends like she use to do before cancer slowed her down. She recalled trips to Disney World and Six Flags, places she longs to visit again. But she holds tight to the memories and to her desire to keep going. She hinted that this may be her last year working full-time at Pelham City Elementary School. Although no decision has been made, she said she was slowing down.
Ms. Christine is such an inspiration! She carries with her a positive glow, a love for people, and the spirit of a survivor. Fifty-four years of service and two kidneys later, she moves around the school cafeteria with the grace of someone very thankful, someone looking forward and not behind. Ms. Christine stated, “The Lord put us together, he knows more than we know.” And she also added, “I recall the good old days of those delicious cinnamon rolls and whipped together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The whole school would smell good, and people came to eat!”
As I was leaving Pelham City Elementary school it occurred to me that I had just met someone extra special in this world and I had a sense of respect for the moments spent with her. I had the blessing of meeting a hero who walks each day with the glow of a servant’s heart. I met a hero today when I met Ms. Christine, and I am so glad I did.