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Be thankful and give back: Advice from a Via client

Having seen and done it all, Norman T., age 76, is now content to be loved by all. At the Tuesday evening Wheels to Meals gathering hosted by the West Boulder Senior Center, Norman is warmly greeted by staff and guests alike. He exchanges witty banter and offers a few marriage proposals (although currently single, Norman has had his share of romances in addition to a 40-year marriage).

A Boulder native, Norman has lived life large, serving as an aviation mechanic in the Marine Corps right out of high school, mining in Alaska, raising six boys on a 40-acre farm in Fort Collins, running heavy equipment while building highways in Colorado, and owning a hair salon in Boulder.

Partially paralyzed and an amputee, Norman has been a client of Via’s paratransit service since the founding of the nonprofit organization 34 years ago, although he’s also a regular on public transit. He can often be seen tooling around town in his electric wheelchair when the weather is nice.

He is well known and liked by many of the Via’s drivers and reservationists. And he reciprocates the feeling noting the many times Via has come to his rescue accommodating his needs when medical appointments have gone long, been rescheduled or come up at the last minute.

He has no regrets and lives by the advice he gives: “Thank God for what you’ve got and be sure to give a little bit back.”

Norman once donated part of some gambling winnings to Via, but he prefers to put donation checks in the mail every month.

“I have a little extra every month, so I send it to Via,” he said. “It’s easy for me to do, and I know it helps.”