The Remembrance of Heroism Through Sacrifice
- May 24, 2023
In a recent County Hall Corner column, I remarked about the awesome social problems faced due to family breakdowns and the crime and drugs that result from them. I stated, “Instead of gossiping about a troubled neighbor or relative, try to refer them to someone who could help them. As the saying goes, instead of
In a recent County Hall Corner column, I remarked about the awesome social problems faced due to family breakdowns and the crime and drugs that result from them. I stated, “Instead of gossiping about a troubled neighbor or relative, try to refer them to someone who could help them. As the saying goes, instead of cursing the darkness, try lighting a candle.” One of the best examples of this is Tammey Aichner.
Tammey Aichner is one of those people who defy simple descriptions. She is first of all a wife and mother of two grown children. For the past 22 years, she has been employed by GNC (General Nutrition Center) and is currently a senior (i.e. regional) manager for six GNC stores. Tammey had been youth pastor and has recently become part-time senior pastor at First Church of Christ (Disciples) on Almond Street in Williamsport. Plus, for the past five years she has been a campus minister at Penn College for United Churches of Lycoming County.
Yet these are just titles and positions, they do not get to the heart of this amazing woman. Tammey is a light bearer — she brings hope and joy in all of these arenas that she finds herself. Take her work in the retail industry, for example. When Tammey Aichner describes retail sales, she makes it sound like a ministry. When an individual comes into her store and is looking for help in losing weight, for example, she knows that there are probably other problems that they are dealing with. Tammey once spent two hours talking to a woman who was going through a bad marriage. Another woman broke down and shared her struggles with finding purpose after spending five years taking care of a father who had recently deceased. Yes, she sells GNC products, but she also shares light and love for free.
As a manager of employees, Tammey’s compassion and concern for those who work for her results in a reciprocal commitment on their part. She defies the high turnover rate in retail sales. Her dedication to her employees produces strong retention and work engagement from them. Those who get promoted still want to keep in contact with Tammey, even as far away as the corporate headquarters in Texas.
Her work at First Church of Christ (Disciples) for the past five years had been as youth pastor, and unlike others in that position who simply provide programs for youth in the church, Tammey looked to bring them in. She started with the young people she saw riding their bikes up and down Almond Street in front of the church. By inviting them into the church and providing a safe space them as well as fun activities, these high-energy preteens began to see the church as a second home. Tammey then taught them the blessings of service. They recently went to a nearby apartment building filled with shut-in elderly folks, and distributed Christmas decorations they had handmade. She connects nine year olds and ninety year olds to be blessed by one another.
Tammey’s ministry is like spiritual symmetry — her life is her ministry. Helping her daughter when she went off to college five years ago matched up with her chaplain work at Penn College with new students. She volunteers to conduct services at the Valley View Nursing Home, and then goes above and beyond to spend time ministering to those in the Alzheimer’s Unit. She finds them “lovely.”
It is probably fair to say that Tammey Aichner finds almost everyone lovely in one way or another. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:15 that the children of God should shine as lights in the world, and there is no better example than this week’s Leader in Our Neighborhood — Tammey Aichner.
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