Greetings from Indianapolis! By the time you will read this I will have met many of you at the Empty Bowls fundraiser and will have officially begun serving the wonderful people of Mason County as the Lakeshore Food Club Executive Director. My name is O’Nealya Gronstal and I am honored and humbled to serve you.
Allow me a moment to answer the first question that I am assuming you have: Why did someone from Indianapolis apply for and accept a position in Ludington? The answer is simple. Ludington is home for us. We started by increasing your local tourist revenue each year, especially during the week of July 4th. But each goodbye got harder and harder until last year, when we decided to never say goodbye again and purchased our home in Ludington.
While the beautiful sunsets over Lake Michigan may have been our first draw to this amazing community, it has been the people, sense of community, family centeredness, and overall quality of life that called us home. It has been our family’s desire to move to our happy place full time so we can live out our calling to serve the people here.
My passion and drive are to serve the marginalized and vulnerable and to be a voice to those who don't think they have a voice. During the last three and half years I served at Wheeler Mission, the largest and most established homeless shelter in Indianapolis. I had the privilege of being their Director of Community Engagement. A job I loved, working for an organization that I love.
I can’t wait for you to meet my family when they join me at the end of the school year!
My husband, Chris, works for Hewlett Packard and will soon become very familiar with the Grand Rapids airport. You may not see much of him during the week due to his intense travel schedule, but if you are on Hamlin Lake on the weekends, look for the guy fishing for walleye.
Our son Benjamin is 13, a 7th grader, and loves to play basketball. And I love to watch him play! He and I share a deep, sometimes obnoxious passion for the Indiana Pacers (sorry Pistons fans!). If you love to shoot or talk hoops, I promise you, Ben will be your new best friend. He will be wrapping up his last Indiana AAU season in June then will pick up his fishing pole to try to out fish dad!
Katie is our 11, soon to be 12-year-old daughter and is in 6th grade. I know many of you will get to know her because you will find her serving at the Food Club with mom. She is my sidekick and is someone I want to be when I grow up. She also plays the French Horn and is excited to join the band here in Ludington.
We are snow dog people and are owned by a husky and a 13-pound snow mutt. They love to pull us along the trails at the State Park and are probably even more excited than we are to live up north where we get real snow!
If we didn’t meet at the Empty Bowls event, I hope to meet you soon! A few things about me you should know: my door is always open, and I always welcome an invitation to sit and have coffee so I can learn about you and your passions. I am humbled that you have entrusted this position to me, and I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves and serve the people of our beautiful community alongside you! Don’t be a stranger – pop in, grab a cup of coffee, and say hi! I can’t wait to meet you!
With Joy, O’Nealya