The journey of a HOF softball pitcher to HU

Hamline’s Safety and Security nigh dispatcher shares her memories from her journey to Hamline and her mission before retiring.

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GINO TERRELL

Bergie Mellin: “I’ve been doin’ Lambeau Leaps with the Pack long before you were a diaper baby. I made the big leap in ’92.”

Gino Terrell, Sports Editor

Bergie Mellin is a junior college Hall of Fame softball pitcher, a die-hard Packers fan and the night dispatcher for Hamline University’s Safety and Security, known as “Bulldog.”

“They call me Bulldog because I don’t take any s–t,” Mellin said, referring to when people try to endanger or take advantage of students on campus.

An example was last year when Mellin spotted three guys on the security camera breaking into the bookstore. She called the St. Paul Police Department and sent a Safety and Security officer to the location to taze one of the runners who attempted to run away with merchandise from the bookstore.

“We got a great crew at night,” Mellin said. “I have a strong work ethic. Students keep me young… I like the campus life. It’s a great fit.”

Mellin grew up in Austin, Minnesota, which the locals refer to as “Spam Town, U.S.A.” In a family of seven, Mellin has three older brothers and three sisters. Out of the four girls, Mellin said she was the only one of the pack who gravitated toward boys and tagged along for activities such as hunting, fishing and watching football.

Her love for sports and competitive nature brought her to softball. Mellin was competitive in fast-pitch softball throughout high school and went on to pitch in junior college at Riverland Community College in “Spam Town.” She graduated in ‘81, but her efforts on the mound were memorable enough that when Riverland announced their first Hall of Fame Inductee class in 1997, she was a first ballot member for the Blue Devils.

During Mellin’s first-year she won the first 20 games of her career and brought the team a state and regional title. She finished the year with a record of 22-2 and helped the team finish in fourth place at the NCJAA National Tournament. She recorded three no-hitters in her career, including one at nationals.

“As a softball pitcher, without a doubt, the finest pitcher we have ever seen here at the college. Outstanding career,” Athletic Director of Riverland Community College Dave Lillemon said.

It was special for her to be inducted as a Hall of Famer the same year her all-time favorite NFL quarterback won his one and only super bowl.

“Brett Favre – he’s my all-time favorite,” Mellin said. “He was my man until he went through his midlife crisis,” Mellin said (referencing when he played his final three years in the NFL on different rosters, one year with the New York Jets and his final two with the Minnesota Vikings).

During college, Mellin studied criminal justice as she was working a job where she made cheese curds. After college, she became a correctional officer for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, where she worked in both minimum and maximum security prisons. She later shifted into a psych associate to bring in the new millennium along with her daughter Sage.

Mellin was looking for a change because she wanted to spend more time with her daughter. She met Hamline School of Business professor Kris Norman-Major through her church in Minneapolis, the Mayflower Congregational Church. Norman-Major said they were acquainted because their kids went to school together.

Mellin applied for the Safety and Security position at Hamline University through Norman-Major. She recommended that Mellin apply because she thought her witty and caring personality would fit right in with the Hamline community.

“I think Bergie has a good spirit,” Norman-Major said. “She has a lively spirit for helping others. She’s a very caring person as well. I’m glad she’s a part of the team at Hamline.”

Mellin went through with the application and started working in 2005 as an officer. Later, she chose to work at nights so she could have time off during the day to see her daughter. Although Mellin could have pursued a higher paying job given her experience and expertise, Mellin said she’s happy she decided to work at Hamline University as she found joy where she works.

She likes the community and working with students and staff at Safety and Security. She said they occasionally have potlucks and she enjoys trash talking with other staff members when it comes to football.

For example, during Mellin’s interview she wore a Packer jersey and security officer Chad Michaels yelled, “knock off points for the shirt.”

She said working here is special because Safety and Security gets to know all the people and when she worked as an officer she “got to know the lay of the land.”

“We have to know who everybody is so we can work closely,” she said.

As a worker, she makes school IDs, monitors the cameras, record keeps in the Banner system, answers the phone calls and helps people who approach the desk.

“We’re the face of security when people come up to the window,” Mellin said. “We’re kind of the go-to guys. [We] take the information [and] take it where it needs to go.”

Her joy is the relationships she’s built with the other co-workers, students and the Hamline community in general.

Although she’s no longer on the mound, she likes when people call her number.

“We’re open 24/7 the number is 2100 [and] we’re here to make it a safe environment,” Mellin said. “I‘ve always been appreciative when people call.”

Mellin says her mission is to work until the day the day her daughter graduates college. For Mellin’s services at Hamline, her daughter gets a reduction in tuition if she enrolls into one of the ACTC schools.

Someday, Mellin wants to work less and spend more time on the boat with a fishing rod in her arms exploring the waters in Minnesota.

“The day [my daughter Sage] throws her cap in the air while clutching her diploma is the day I turn in my dispatch badge for a set of RV keys & set out for one grand adventure called retirement,” Mellin said.