Published on January 28, 2020
Coming Together at Servus Place
Chances are if you visit the track facility at Servus Credit Union Place in the early morning hours, you’ve been on the receiving end of a friendly smile or better yet, a conversation with Norm Spencer.
A popular figure among staff and other members, Norm is one of those people you meet and just know that you immediately like. (During our interview he is stopped no less than a half dozen times and wished a good day by those around him.) Members of the Guest Services team often put together a basket of treats, including his favourite bran muffins, for Norm’s birthday.
“I first started coming here about four or five years ago, but honestly I should have started earlier,” explains Norm. “It’s just a very friendly place and I really enjoy the social aspect of coming here.”
After a kidney transplant almost 25 years ago, Norm’s doctor suggested he try walking to help improve his health. “I try to do about 8-10 laps with a few rests in between, then I head down to the steam room,” says Norm. “I find that really helps me recover.”
One quick note about Norm that gives you a better picture of how special he is to those around him and the impact he has had on others - his kidney was donated to him from his son, Kyle. “I call him every year on October 31, the day of my transplant, and tell him 75% of this day belongs to him.”
A natural story-teller, Norm (or Red, as he is known to some) eagerly recounts stories from his involvement in various sports organizations throughout his life, whether it’s curling, hockey or baseball. It was this enthusiasm for sports that introduced Norm to another member, Quincy, as the two men often talk hockey while walking the track or sitting in the steam room.
One day, Quincy found out that Norm was no longer able to drive himself to Servus Place and was concerned about his ability to get to the facility and maintain his morning routine. Quincy and a couple of other members, Jim and Ed, stepped up to share driving duties three times a week, and Norm was able to remain a facility fixture and continue his workouts.
With his transportation needs met, Servus Place staff started receiving inquiries from others on how they could further support Norm. Enter the St. Albert Cosmopolitan Club, a multi-chapter, international organization that was originally founded with a mandate to fight diabetes and raise research funds. They host several fundraising events every year and use the funds to support numerous local initiatives – including supporting residents like Norm.
Once the club heard Norm’s story and the infectious positivity he brings to the facility and community with his storytelling and generous nature, they acted quickly and invited Norm to a board meeting and dinner - coincidentally on his birthday - where they presented him with a cheque to cover the cost of an annual membership, ensuring Norm was able to continue to walk the track and brighten the days of staff and other members.
Norm’s story shows that often it truly takes a village and the support he has seen is a shining example of the sense of community that exists at Servus Place.
Last edited: January 28, 2020