Lighting the way: Tina Gienger is an open book

Posted on Jul 10 2022 in Noble REMC
Tina Gienger

Noble REMC wouldn’t be successful without our employees and directors. To highlight the work that they do, we’ve established Lighting the Way to place a spotlight on those who help the co-op thrive.

If you want a good story told right, you go to Tina.

After 20 years with the co-op, Collection Coordinator and Member Service Representative Tina Gienger has plenty to tell. Working one-on-one with our members in their time of need, she has seen and heard it all and has the compassion to do everything she can to help those who need it, whether through payment arrangements or coordinating assistance.

And outside of the co-op, Gienger has just as many stories revolving around the things that matter most to her: her family and friends, her church and most of all, John Cougar Mellencamp. 

What motivated you to work here at the co-op?

“I was working at the newspaper, and Albion was my town. I would stop here to get the ads all the time. Then something became available, and they didn’t know if I would be interested or not, but asked if I would like to interview for this. I did and here I am.”

What’s your favorite part of working at the co-op?

“My favorite part is helping people — people that are struggling with their bill, especially during COVID-19. I’ve heard many stories, and it’s heartbreaking. It’s been a blessing to be able to extend their payments. Sometimes you get burned if they’re not telling the truth, but most times, after you’ve done it long enough, you can genuinely tell when someone is telling the truth. It makes me feel good as a person, and if I can help them get back on track and get caught up, it’s all the better.”

What do you like to do outside of the co-op?

“I like to knit. I learned how to knit back in high school, but then when my dad was really ill, all of us kids took turns going over there. I was trying to stay awake. He told me to just go on to bed, but I wanted to try to figure knitting out again. He got up a couple of times and went, ‘If I know you, you won’t go to bed until you figure it out.’ And I said, ‘Yep, that’s right.’ I got it back again and remembered how to do it. So it’s always a nice reminder of my dad, so I continue to do it.

“And I used to play Bingo a lot with my mom. We had a lot of fun.” One of the Bingo nights fell on her mother’s birthday, and wouldn’t you know, they won the $1,000 jackpot!

What are you most proud of in your life?

“The thing I’m most proud of, of course, would be my children. They are all uniquely different and uniquely beautiful, all at the same time.”

What’s your favorite movie?

“My favorite movie is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. All the kids had to watch that I don’t know how many times and hated it because it was in black and white.”

What is your favorite music?

“Old rock ‘n’ roll. ’70s and ’80s is my favorite, with my favorite out of all those is John Cougar Mellencamp. Back in high school and afterward, my goodness, I couldn’t tell you how many concerts I went to in Fort Wayne. 

“I think almost every concert I went to I got kicked out for trying to rush the stage because I knew every word to every song and I knew he would pull me up there at some point. We didn’t have seats in the front, and I’d get down there and they’d turn me away.”

Do you volunteer in the community?

“I’m in the Rosary Sodality at my church, Immaculate Conception Church, in Kendallville. The project we’re working on now is Our Lady Mother of Mercy Patroness of America in Rome City. It’s an amazing place. One Saturday my husband and I were out there all day just raking up leaves and working on the landscaping. It’s just so pretty.”