Employee Profile: Kjirstin Solberg RingoldPublished by Andy Sween on Wed, 2014-03-12 15:02
Employee profile: Kjirstin Solberg Ringold
Kjirstin Solberg Ringold presents a very calm demeanor. You’d never know that she is the very busy single mother of five children who range in age from 14 to 4.
Kjirstin was hired on July 1, 2013, as a GRSB teller. She had moved here from Louisiana earlier in the year with her five children and was happy to return to the safety and familiarity of the home of her parents, Loren and Joan Solberg.
Kjirstin graduated from Greenway High School; her father, Loren, was involved in politics as far back as Kjirstin can remember. He served as mayor of Bovey, MN for 12 years and then in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1982 through 2010.
“I spent a lot of time stuffing envelopes and answering telephones as a youngster,” said Kjirstin, “just like Mom. Every once in a while I got to attend a party or two, but Dad was involved in political work as long as I can remember. It was just part of my family life growing up.”
Kjirstin was involved in a variety of sports in high school, including basketball, volleyball, track and synchronized swimming. She worked as a lifeguard for a township swimming area on Hill Lake north of Grand Rapids on Highway 38, and then worked for two years at Target while she attended Itasca Community College.
Kjirstin moved away after graduating from ICC and began raising her family. She was forced to go back to work in 2007 and performed several jobs, including bank teller, a municipal utility accounting clerk and a bookkeeper for Head Start.
“Life is a challenge taking care of my kids,” explained Kjirstin, “and my parents helped me move back here in April 2013. It is hard being a single mom no matter who you are, but we have a few other challenges. It’s a good thing there are banking jobs everywhere; I was very grateful to get this job at Grand Rapids State Bank.”
Kjirstin’s twin daughters, age 10, have disabilities that require the part-time assistance of a personal care attendant. The girls, Kaela and Sophia, were born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. They wear leg braces to help with their mobility and have shunts in their heads that drain to their stomachs. If the shunts don’t work for any reason, they must have immediate attention or the girls’ lives are in danger. Kjirstin points out that the girls are very smart, and their disabilities don’t prevent them from being otherwise active girls and sisters.
Kjirstin’s oldest son, Zethan, enjoys swimming, the only sport he’s allowed to participate in just now due to growing pains that have affected his joints. Isaac, age 12, participates in football and archery, while Matthew, age 4, receives coaching to help him with speech problems.
“Everyone has been real nice here at GRSB,” said Kjirstin. “I like doing my job well and I’m in my comfort zone.”
Kjirstin has earned an early reputation as someone who is accurate and quick when it comes to counting money, a good skill for a teller. Her manager, Heather Swanson, has kiddingly referred to Kjirstin as her “challenger” when it comes to counting accuracy and speed.
“It’s been nice to come home,” said Kjirstin. “I always loved to fish when I was younger, whether it was hot or cold; it was my escape. I get to do that once again.
“My family life was like most other families growing up,” Kjirstin added. “I have three brothers who liked to pick on me: I was the only girl and the youngest. Actually, they really looked after me.”
That family support is in evidence now, years later, as her parents, Loren and Joan, offer a good support network, despite their own busy schedules. “I truly wouldn’t be here now without them,” she added.
Kjirsten with her children. (L to R) Zethan, Matthew, Kaela, Sophia, and Isaac.