GALION — The old saying goes: “There’s no place like home.”
And after a variety of job opportunities since his college graduation, Galion graduate Eric Neal has come back home.
Neal, a 2008 GHS graduate, recently took over as program director for the Galion Community Center YMCA.
“My work history is somewhat of a joke to the staff here,” Neal said. “They often ask me ‘What haven’t you done?’ and we all laugh because I have honestly worked a little bit of everything the past few years.”
Neal, the son of Chuck and Maureen Neal of Galion, was a captain of the football team and lettered in tennis three years during his years at Galion High School He earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports and Leisure Studies from The Ohio State University in 2012.
After his college graduation, he came home and worked at GameStop in Mansfield, eventually becoming a manager for the chain in the Columbus area. From there he took a position with the Marion YMCA as an assistant Program Director.
Most recently, Neal had a teaching position, working with special needs students at North Union Middle School.
“I enjoyed working with the students a lot,” said Neal. “Working with students who have struggles just to learn gives you a certain attachment to them that drives you to help them succeed.”
But while he misses his time in the school, Neal is happy to be back in Galion in a position that closely relates to his focus in college.
Upon taking the position, Eric had to get busy immediately in preparation for the winter youth basketball program, which starts each December. The league is for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and is a big draw for the quieter winter months.
“I’m actually coaching one of the younger teams this time around,” Neal said with a smile. “We were short on coaches so I stepped in to help. The kids really are a lot of fun to watch and to be able to teach them fundamentals at a young age.”
Neal is also working to get the church winter volleyball league in place for the coming months.
“I’m definitely keeping busy,” he said. “If I’m not here in my office, I’m usually out making rounds to the weight room, daycare, or helping at the front desk. I’m a pretty social person, so I like to be with people as much as I can. I enjoy greeting the members, most of whom I have known for years, and helping other staff if needed.”