By DAVID LOPEZ
Anywhere the News covers community events, we can be sure to find Norma Boland present, volunteering and/or displaying her friendly smile. It was for her consistent involvement in local events that the News chose Boland as 2019’s Citizen of the Year.
She has lived in San Benito most of her life and perfectly exemplifies the famous line attributed to Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Currently she works for First Community Bank as she has for the past 30 years, but she manages to make the time to volunteer and remain in touch with the community.
“My favorite part of volunteering is the warm and fuzzy feeling you get, like when you’re handing out backpacks to kids and their little eyes just light up; it’s priceless,” Boland said. “It just brings so much joy to my heart. I think everybody should volunteer and get that feel good feeling and when they get that, they’re gonna be hooked.”
Currently she is most involved with the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and the list goes on.
Along with other teams and clubs, she helps organize events intended to enrich various aspects of community living.
Her current project, along with other vendors from The Shop with a Little Bit of Everything, is creating a space for an indoor “market days”, set for September 14 at La Villita Dance Hall.
One of her greatest joys came in organizing a class reunion from San Benito High School graduates of the 1970s back in October of 2017. She said the dining hall at SB Wings was full to capacity, with every single class from the decade represented.
“There were a lot of families that had multiple kids in high school at the same time; everybody participated and we had a great response, and that has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done,” she said.
“All the thank you’s I got, from teachers, from students, and then everybody was saying ‘When are we going to have another one,’ and I would say, ‘Hold on, that was a lot of work’,” she laughed.
Despite her consistent excellence, Norma Boland has faced major setbacks when she was diagnosed with cancer, twice, first in 2000 then again in 2014. However, owing to her winning attitude, she did not back down.
The day she was diagnosed, it was 3 o’ clock friday afternoon, she recalls, and it was the Battle of the Arroyo night.
“All of a sudden nobody wanted to go to the game, and I’m like ‘Y’all can stay home but I’m going,” she said, commenting that one’s attitude is half the battle.
“And when you go through your trials and tribulations, it makes you look at your life in a different way. You just appreciate everybody so much more, because just like that you can be gone.”
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