By Ryan Charles Parker
Nature is in our nature. A ludicrous sentence, but it makes some sense when you think of it in better terms. We have an innate need to be amongst nature, especially those of us that live in an urban setting. And we are lucky in Red Deer because we have a beautiful natural environment tucked right into our city called Kerry Wood Nature Center. But it doesn’t just exist in a vacuum. It requires maintenance through hard work. And Norm Crossman does more than his share of this work as a volunteer.
“Kerry Wood, being the place that it is, and what it stands for, I just want to make sure that it’s preserved for future generations,” says Norm.
He is instrumental in the day-to-day functioning of Kerry Wood and is extremely versatile in his many roles.
Norm has been volunteering at Kerry Wood for years. He serves as the president of the Friends of Kerry Wood Nature Center board of directors, a task that he puts much time into. He completes various handyman necessities around the facility, including helping out with things as simple but crucial as taking garbage to the landfill. Basically, Norm does anything that he is asked of him, often without much notice.
Kimberly Darbyson, who nominated him for the award, summed up the feeling of the people within the organization about him: “We are all big fans of Norm and believe he is worth this designation.”
Kaley Zunino echoed Kimberly’s sentiments. “Norm has a very cheery disposition, so when he comes to the Nature Centre he brightens the atmosphere all the way from the front desk to the back offices. He will always ask if there is anything he can do to help and in many instances has jumped in last minute to help without hesitation.”
His work is not limited to Kerry Wood alone. He has been volunteering for many organizations for a long time, including helping the Salvation Army and selling poppies for the Legion to name but a few.
When I interviewed Norm upon his being awarded our Volunteer of the Month, he made a comment that was only half-true: “I feel there are so many people out there who volunteer and deserve it more than I do.” He is right. We are lucky in Red Deer to have so many hard-working, selfless people that volunteer their time fantastically. He is also wrong. He deserves the designation as much as anyone could.