Everyday People That Make a Difference

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Jane Myers - Winona, MN

Patrice Swenson

Life & Business Coach



Meet Jane Myers...


I was new in town last year and didn't really know anyone until I joined the YMCA. I spend a lot of time at the Y and I've noticed that a lot of folks there seemed to know the custodian, Jane Myers.

When I was new to the Y, the one person I saw just about every night,  was Jane. She didn't know my name but always made a point of being friendly, acknowledging me, "Hey Girl", in a friendly voice, "How's your day going", she treated me like an old friend and it wasn't that she always had a lot to say, it was the energy and enthusiasm in her voice, in her step and in her pure dedication and happiness she showed in her work that made her positive spirit shine. You can tell almost immediately that she LOVES her job and it shows. The Y in Winona, MN is one of the most immaculate Y's I've ever been to, largely due to Jane! Jane always has a smile to share, and a moment to spare. If she see's someone isn't at their best, she offers a kind word and an upbeat attitude that makes everyone smile, even on a bad day! You hear the sincere tones that say, I REALLY do care about the community I serve! She's far more than a staff member, she's everyone's friend!

At Rainbow in the Puddle, we like to highlight everyday people that do the little things that are really the big things in life! Rainbow in the Puddle is honoring Jane Myers. Jane is giving, thoughtful and caring for others. She serves everyone so well, with her friendly smile, upbeat attitude and hard work! She makes going to the Y even more enjoyable! When I was preparing this story, I asked many folks about Jane and they all had the same thing to say, over and over again... Jane's the best!

Jane hasn't been given the best of everything in life, she's made the best of everything in life, a key component to living a happy and positive life and a major positive life strategy. As I sat across the table from Jane, interviewing her for this blog piece, I could feel the excitement in her, and the awe... Finding it hard to believe someone would honor her! Her pure, humble nature is priceless!

Here's Jane's story:

Jane is the third child of four, she grew up near Winona, MN and married at the age of 16. She fell madly in love with a man a little older than her, who used to come out to her fathers salvage yard. Although being married at such a young age, may seem unusual to most of us, in Janes family, it was not unusual at all. Her mother was also married to her father at age 16 and they lived happily until his death several years later. Although it would seem unlikely for a union at such a young age to last, it did! "I felt like I had the world by the tail", Jane said with a big smile. As Jane recounted her years of marriage, you could hear the joy and satisfaction in her voice.

As life moved forward, a few years later, Jane was devastated by the death of one of her sisters; it was very difficult for everyone. Despite her strife, she was still very happy with her life in other ways, and continued to focus on what she had, and the people still in her life. Jane worked hard with her mother, cleaning houses and kept herself busy. "I felt blessed to have my husband and true love at my side", she said with a grin, as if she were re-living a happy moment. A few years later, Jane had another difficult time, when another sister died. Jane recalls this as being more painful, because her sister had suffered so long in her battle with leukemia. As Jane tells the story, the sadness shows in her eyes, and her trembling voice. "It took courage to lay beside my sister, as I watched her pass away". "I was right in the bed beside her, until she took her last breath". Jane was really devastated by her loss and promised her sister, she would take care of her kids and raise them the best she could. "We never had any kids of our own, and we didn't have any experience raising kids, but we did our best". 

"It wasn't easy to take on someone else's children, you are never MOM and no matter what you do, it's hard" Jane said, with a trembling voice, you could see the pain in her body language as she shared some difficult stories... "This was the most difficult period of my life", she said, until one more thing happened that was almost more than she could handle... Her love of 25 years and a happy marriage from the age of 16, ended when her husband suddenly died of a heart attack; Jane trembles as she shares that painful moment of holding him in her arms as he passed away.

As devastating as her story is, Jane never gave up on life, love, or the pursuit of happiness. "I just had to keep on going, so I did", she said with confidence. This attitude she carries and her will to persevere is what brought kept her going, and opened her to new opportunities. Jane was blessed with love again, and married her current husband in 2001. As she begins to describe the next chapter of life, her body and spirit lift and she glows like a teenager in love for the first time. She is so excited as she reflects on the story of how they met and fell in love. Jane found her bliss in love, not once, but twice in a life, she said, "I am so lucky"! Appreciation for her life just beams from her. "I'm lucky in love and work, " she said, and her glow shows it! Gratitude seems to be Janes strength; always looking to find something to enjoy in her life.

Life isn't about getting the best of everything, it's about making the best of everything and Jane is a true model for that! When I asked her to describe what success was to her, she replied with a smile, and said, "Getting up everyday and taking care of your loved ones and going to work"! I asked her if she'd quit her job at the YMCA if she won the lottery... Her answer, "ABSOLUETLY NOT, I love my work and the people there are like family"! Jane also shared her thoughts about friendship and marriage..."A good friend is someone that listens to you, " she said, with quick and solid declaration. And  when I asked her what makes a good marriage, she said, "Being honest, faithful and keeping the communication open and living ONE day at a time"! "What is happiness to you", I asked, "When two people love each other and share together". Jane"s dream for the future is to travel with her "hubby", as she remarks with a grin, in his truck when she's retired.

When I asked Jane all the above questions to get her wisdom, she was completely humble and didn't think she would have much that anyone would want to hear about, but as all of you reading this know, we could ALL learn a little from Jane! 

Thank you, Jane Myers, you're a Rainbow in the Puddle~