Inspiring Okeechobee: Ginny Staines stays on the move

OKEECHOBEE — There is no excuse good enough to keep 92-year-old Ginny Staines from her daily, hour-long walk, and if that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is. Ginny said she used to walk two hours a day, but recently, her doctor told her it was time to cut back a little so she did.

Born in North Carolina in 1926, Ginny said she has always had an adventurous streak, and after a visit to Florida when she was 20, she told her mother she loved Florida and wanted to move there. Knowing there was no stopping Ginny, her mother gave her daring daughter her blessing. Ginny found a job as a waitress at a drive-in restaurant in West Palm Beach.

She met her first husband there when he used to come in for lunch. She said he was a big, tall, handsome city bus driver, and they were married not long after they met. They were married for 16 years before he passed away from lung cancer.

Ginny and her second husband met in church. They were happily married for 27 years. She said she never had children of her own but she “made out like a bandit” when she married him because now she has six grandchildren, six great grandchildren and eight great great grandchildren!

Ginny has lived in Okeechobee for 33 years and has been a member of the First Baptist Church for 32 years. She has been teaching Sunday school for 57 years, and she said she does it because she loves the Lord and she loves children. Beginning with children’s classes, she eventually ended up teaching women her own age, and she enjoys that just as much.

“Beyond blessed” is how Ginny describes herself and her life. “God has been so good to me,” she says.

Ginny Staines

Ginny began walking when her vascular doctor Michael Costello, MD advised her to walk for two hours every day. For four years, six days a week, she followed his instructions. She said no matter what, that’s first, whether she wants to or not. “Nothing holds me back.” When Dr. Costello retired, Ginny got a new doctor who thought two hours a day was a little excessive for a 92-year-old woman, and Ginny said, “I have to admit, I was relieved.” After that, she cut back to one hour each day, six days per week. The neighbors all know her and wave or talk to her as she goes by. She has made friends with every dog in the neighborhood and knows them all by name. They wait by their fences for her to bring their morning treats.

There are so many people who use every excuse in the book to get out of exercising. It’s really great to see someone who lets nothing get in the way of doing what needs to be done. Ms. Ginny, you are an inspiration.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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