Jan Norris Speech – 2017 Scholarship Banquet

Jan Norris Speech – 2017 Scholarship Banquet


Oh Thank You Josh you know I went back and
reread the emails that we exchanged after last year’s banquet I guess you
could say I asked for this in that email I shared that I would be interested in
hearing scholarship donors stories and that I thought it might be interesting
to the students as well it is a planting of the seed that some
day students could and should pay it forward giving someone else that hand up
this has reminded me of the meetings where you go to and you suggest an idea
and suddenly you’re it good evening to all of you who have said yes to students
and to those students have heard that yes I am Janet Evie Norris proud
presenter of the John and Norma EB family scholarships and I want to talk
to you about saying yes and what happens when we do I hope that many of you took
a good look at that invitation you receive tonight’s to tonight’s banquet
it is an invitation to say yes to students isn’t it and it’s an invitation
to those of us who have said yes it is a unique opportunity to meet these
students and learn what that yes has meant to them
we cannot go away with from this evening without being touched by that simple act
of saying yes it may be a simple act but it’s not a simple decision I spend a lot
of time reading and rereading the applications I also call this you
evening unique not because we get to see Josh and hear his jokes and banter and
get a good hug from George and enjoy a delicious meal to share together
I call it unique because it is not often when we give of our time and money that
we get to meet those who received it it gives all of us who say yes to students
an opportunity to meet those students and to further hear their stories that
yes gets a lot more personal now I want to share some of this history of
the yeses that bring me to stand here tonight my parents John and Norma EB and
two-year-old me moved to Auburn in 1945 so the dad could become the manager of
the Grange Commission and livestock company a livestock sales market that
used to be on C Street Southwest that yes was a beginning they rented a house
up here on Lee Hill which was a wonderful playground for me and my
blader my brother Leon they were here just if they were just a few homes on
this hill then and unpaved roads when I was about 10 years old they bought 20
acres just down the road this way I believe yeah that was a big yes for us
but there wasn’t I know I must tell you about because it’s humorous in 1952 or
so when they applied for a loan to build their house
the bank manager told them no because he was sure nothing was ever going to
happen on lead he’ll it was way too far out of town and it would not be a good
investment for the bank if he could see Lee hill now yes unto more yeses that
yes to the 20 acres and eventually a banker who had appreciated the country
to build that house set the stage for the yeses that I get to give it to Green
River Community College students today that was our family home for 50 years in
about 2004 my brother Leon and I gave the big yes – Wesley homes to build a
retirement facility in what we called our ranch long story short this
beautiful retirement facility there is a beautiful retirement facility there now
I was thrilled with that yes because rather than a lot of homes credited on
that beautiful 20 acres wesley homes was going to build a wonderful addition to
this neighborhood when we say yes I think that it sets many things in motion
that we have no idea about at the time when I first started to attend this
banquet in about 2002 it did not take long to view the scholarship recipients
that we see up there tonight as the years have gone by the photo loop has
gotten a long long a lot longer as many more donors are saying yes to many more
students we keep outgrowing the rooms for this event isn’t that a nice problem
to have Josh I tend to sulk die here no I tend to select recipients
that are older have lived a bit of life and maybe it has all not been the
greatest I also like to select those who have had to make major changes in their
lives a single mom raising children working going to school always gets to
me how do they do that I’ve had a lot of yeses in my life I feel that I need to
pass those yeses unto others in the form of these scholarships I do not excuse me
I do not know how many occupational therapists I’ve helped along the way I
just know it’s been many they make things better for our bodies and our
communities one student that I recall most was one of the first of the John
and Norman TB scholarship recipients she wanted to become an airline pilot she
was already a stewardess but had to dream to be that pilot after a crash
that took the luck the lives of some of her stewardess friends she decided she
should pursue that dream she sold everything including her horse in her
house to go to college and pursue that dream to be the pilot who would not want
to say yes to that committed lady my saying yes to her has opened a lot of
doors and has brought her to doing much more than piling a commercial jet I will
always remember another student raising his family driving a delivery bread
truck and one day that job just went away he’s discovered a part of himself
he never knew and found great joy in helping others when he entered the
physical therapy Assistance Program today is a very good and happy PT I have
had said to a yes to a lady who was working her fingers off to become a
court reporter that’s not an easy goal of course there have been those who are
bettering themselves in the world of computers this year see it seems to be
the IT program one student that I helped free up a lot of his mental said that I
helped free up a lot of his mental RAM with the scholarship I appreciated it
when he explained to me in his thank-you letter what Ram was I’m helping a family
who has been in this country only a year also forestry students I cannot help it
I love the woods the magic words from one of them were and I quote thank you
for granting me financial support and by doing so encouraging me to keep working
hard and achieving my goals unquote I have said yes to folks who have dreams
and goals and have given everything to achieve them some students have said
been successful somehow honestly have fallen short but how do you really
measure success I think they and I have gained much more
than we would have had I said no to them I met a man with his wife and child that
had to flee Iraq to save their lives that absolutely took my breath away
I can’t imagine coming to a strange country with very little not knowing the
language the customs or the weather he was he was not able to work in his
profession because he did not have the proper credentials thus had to come to
Green River to retrain to get those credentials he did not just attend
classes he became very important involved in student affairs and actually
paved the way for other students to be successful at Green River in his
thank-you letter he explained that it was his aspiration to
Nicias degree and have a rewarding career he knew that he would also be
able to provide for his wife and child as well as have a full life that he was
dreaming about it was also his hope that I would claim him as one of ours
and yes Khalid you are one of ours in the end we are here because we know the
value of saying yes it is an act of saying yes and sharing our gifts and I
believe they are gifts we know the value of helping others perhaps the way we
were helped along our path or because we were given much in life and feel the
responsibility to share when I help others who have goals and dreams to
better their lives I find the best part of myself and enhance my own life it is
though I cannot help myself I love saying yes that’s a warm fuzzy
feeling knowing that I have been a part of the inspiration that has helped a
student along their way it’s a good addiction the notes I have received from
many grateful students are a testament to the fact that is rewarding thing that
the ebee family scholarships and all of our scholarships do I can’t keep saying
yes to Green River students because I have made arrangements so that the ebee
family scholarships will continue as long as there are students who need them
I will not always be here but those yeses will be so let’s all continue
saying yes filling this room to the brim after all Josh needs to have a challenge
of fitting this all in this all of us yes sayers and and students into this
room for many more years thank you Thank You Josh you

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