Going the Extra Mile with Norma Baker
Ask Norma Baker about her early years at Noble as a young, single mom with three small children aged 8, 5 and 4, and she recalls, “My coworkers were like family in those days when I really needed the support.” Twenty years later, Norma is one of the most beloved members of the Noble family, revered for her devotion, thoughtfulness, and kindness. Reflected one resident, "Norma is always there for me; she offers help, a sympathetic ear, she anticipates my needs, and she truly cares."
Norma Baker joined Noble Horizons over 20 years ago as a certified nurse’s aide and for the past 15 years has been in the driver’s seat, providing transportation to cottagers as a part of Noble's wellness program. With her calm, quiet, and humble demeanor, she enriches the lives of residents as a trusted friend as well as a driver.
Fifteen years ago, a cottager bequeathed to Noble a contribution to help cottagers remain in their cottages as long as safely possible. The generous bequest created the wellness program which carries out initiatives and programs that include transportation to doctor appointments, an afternoon out for lunch and a movie, errands, meal, and mail delivery and a host of other services that enhance a cottager's comfort and safety (all at no additional charge). The goal: to keep residents living independently as long as possible. Norma has been the face-and heart-of this program since its inception.
“I try to make their lives as good as they can be. If mail isn’t picked up by a cottager, I check on them. If I know someone’s been feeling unwell, I stop by.” When Norma is delivering mail, food, or other items she often gets invited in to perform some other task, like opening a jar or figuring out a blinking light on an appliance. These small acts can make all the difference in someone's day.
It’s not unusual to see Norma driving around town in the Noble van, her eyes focused on the road ahead. Norma is often shopping with cottagers at LaBonne’s or CVS where she helps them secure a shopping cart, and find items they need.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many cottagers prefer to remain on the Noble campus, so Norma takes their shopping lists and purchases what they need; she even returns and checks out their library books and picks up their mail and packages for delivery.
This kind of devotion is why Norma has become family to so many at Noble. Her generous spirit and compassion are a gift to all and have endeared her to generations of cottagers and their families. Even her own children, now 28, 25, and 24 are part of the Noble family; they all have volunteered at Noble and her daughter has just graduated from nursing school with the help of Noble’s employee scholarship program.
Norma is well-known around Lakeville/Salisbury and loves living and working locally. For the past 13 years, she’s been a waitress at Mizza’s restaurant, from which she’ll retire later this spring. Three years ago, she married her partner of ten years, Robert Flint who works for the Town of Salisbury and who has been a 35-year volunteer of the Lakeville Hose Company.
Norma's commitment to Noble cottagers extends far beyond any job description; Noble is family to Noble just as she is family to Noble. Going the extra mile is how she rolls and with her naturally generous spirit, Noble is a richer community with Norma in the driver's seat!