December 21, 2011

Recognizing the Gift of Giving

By Lauren Billing
Farmer Staff Writer

If you ever give Shirley Norby a call, you could very well get a response like this, “Oh you caught me at the right time! I just got finished setting my donuts out!”
Anyone who knows Shirley Norby, knows she is near famous for her donuts, which she sells out of her home. Her donuts are a must have at the Good Shepherd Home Bazaar and can be found at many other events including Relay For Life and fundraisers for the McKenzie County Hospital.
Norby has a green thumb as well, which she puts to good use at the Good Shepherd Home each spring as Chairman of the Flowerbed Committee. She and her fellow officers of the Good Shepherd Home Auxiliary are always sure to have the flowerbeds blooming with life by midsummer.
And when she is not baking or planting, Norby gives of her time at the Keene First Lutheran Church and a number of area churches as a pastoral assistant. Whether she is celebrating behind the pulpit or in the pews, she is an vital part of the Sunday celebrations for many congregations.
With all the wonderful community support that Shirley Norby provides throughout the year, it is a joy to recognize her as the 2011 recipient of the McKenzie County Farmer’s Heart of Gold Award.
Norby spends many hours at the Good Shepherd Home. On top of being Chairman of the Flowerbed Committee, she is an officer for the Good Shepherd Home Auxiliary, bakes for the annual bazaar, provides church services once a month and in the past even did hair for some of the residents. Norby does many of the same things as the Ombudsman for the Good Samaritan Home in New Town as well.
She has been a pastoral assistant for 25 years, serving churches in a variety of denominations throughout the area. At Keene First Lutheran Church she puts together the weekly bulletin, the monthly newsletter and the bulletin board. She is also an officer for both the WELCA and the Northeast Community Association.
Norby loves to quilt and she is sure to benefit others with that talent as well. She sews quilts and school kit bags for Lutheran World Relief. Every year she also creates a quilt for the Epping Bible Camp Quilt Sale.
“My goal has always been to get on to the front stage” says Norby.
She did just that this year when she was voted first place for the Viewers’ Choice on the front stage, while raising $1,800 for future campers. And for graduating high school seniors at Keene First Lutheran, she helps make quilts for them to take as they head into their next stage of life.
Norby, a native to McKenzie County, grew up just south of Johnsons Corner. As the second oldest of 17 children, she was very much a mother to her younger siblings. She grew up in a home that had no running water or electricity.
“Being born into a large family in the ‘dirty-’30s,’ taught me to appreciate things,” explains Norby. “To this day, when I turn on the faucet I thank God for running water.”
Today, Norby enjoys her two sons, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Norby attributes her drive to volunteer to being part of a large family.
“When I got to have my own time, I just felt like I needed to reach out and give help where it’s needed,” says Norby.
She also firmly believes that giving your time to others comes back to you two-fold, because if you get going to do something for somebody, it will make you feel better!
Norby particularly enjoys the time she spends at both nursing homes. She describes working there as, “A joy. You really get to be one-on-one with the residents. And they are so grateful for having someone come and spend time with them,” says the eternally young 76-year-old.
Norby’s ability to reach out has been noticed by many community members and earned her several nominations as an individual with a heart of gold.
Anonymous nominations cited Norby as “a leader and outstanding citizen,” “truly a saint and angel wrapped in one,” and “one of those individuals that is always there to pitch in 100 percent when people are in need, doing so without asking for anything in return.”
Fellow Good Shepherd Home Auxiliary officer DeLaura Dodds says Norby’s recognition as a Heart of Gold is, “Great. She does a lot of things for a lot of people. She is easy to work with and personable. She deserves it!”
Though Norby does not know who nominated her for this award she wants to let them know how very much she appreciates it.
“I just really want to thank the people who nominated me. It is great to know that they trust in me enough to nominate me for something like this,” says Norby.
Shirley Norby exemplifies what it means to selflessly give of one’s time, talent and treasure. Between baking, sewing, gardening and pastoring, her presence and love is felt in many places and by even more people. It is truly a pleasure to applaud her efforts and to celebrate Shirley Norby as 2011’s Heart of Gold recipient.