LEXINGTON – From a young age, Kristine Lindeman, vice president of Alumni Roofing, always looked for ways to be involved. Whether it be the secretary of the student council, a member of the PTO or eventually a board member of the Richland County Chamber.
Despite being in a wheelchair for most of her adult life, Lindeman never let her disability get in the way of being successful. Her passion for her community and being involved has kept her on the right path toward accomplishing her goals.
“I went from able-bodied to living a life in this chair,” Lindeman said. “I would say that that was kind of a profound moment in digging in and seeing what courage looks like, and just tackling life in a different fashion.”
In 1997, due to a tragic sled riding accident at 21 years old, Lindeman became paraplegic and lost use of both of her legs. But despite the tragedy, she still feels “very fortunate” that all of her rehabilitation consisted of mostly getting in a wheelchair and learning how to maneuver it.
Lindeman’s support system consisted of her parents and boyfriend (now husband), who helped her feel encouraged each day to work toward getting back to living her life the same way as before, only with a disability. She’s also grateful to her co-workers and supervisors at Kohl’s department store in Ontario where she worked at the time.
“I had a place that I had to be at a certain time and needed to get dressed and ready and showered, and so I didn't have a lot of time to sit and wallow in it,” Lindeman said.
After figuring out her new way of life, she went right back into getting involved with the community. In 2020, she became the Women’s Fund chairwoman as well as a board member for the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce. On top of that, she, like many other business owners, had to find ways to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“Both personally and professionally, it's relationships with people in our community that has kept us afloat,” Lindeman said. “It’s really just about your desire to want to, and I think if you have that desire, there are absolutely opportunities all over the place to jump into leadership... Richland County is on the rise with that, for sure.”
After getting honest feedback from her employees and setting guidelines, Lindeman and her husband, Todd Lindeman, persevered through the pandemic, increasing their business by 40 percent since they first took over the company in 2016.
Barbie Green, office manager for Alumni Roofing, met Lindeman during a school PTO meeting and has seen her exhibit courage time and time again. She’s watched Lindeman beat obstacles that could’ve prevented her from opportunities due to being in a wheelchair.
“She doesn't let being in a chair stop her,” Green said. “You know, I think it's understandable if someone in her condition would say because they were in a wheelchair they couldn't do this or that, but (Lindeman's) like, ‘I'm gonna do everything I can, and (the wheelchair’s) not gonna stop me.’”
Lindeman always saw herself becoming a leader before she became disabled and well after. She encourages others like her to not let anything hold them back.
“My disability just made me a little bit more visible,” Lindeman said. “We all have our own obstacles to overcome, whether it’s physical or it's something that you struggle with mentally. Mine just happens to be out there for everyone else to see. And I think we need each other to overcome those obstacles. That, to me, is a nice thing about a small community.”
Mechanics Bank presents the Courage at Work series, recognizing it takes incredible courage to start and run a business. As a local and independent bank, Mechanics understands that local businesses are the heartbeat of our community and would like to thank those businesses who call Richland County home.