Hero of the week Norma Johnson: Called to care

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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Norma Johnson, a dedicated home health aide at Southern Care hospice, has been named this week’s Greenville Advocate Hero of the Week for her exceptional commitment to serving others. With 24 years of service at the same company, Johnson’s passion for caregiving shines through in everything she does.

Johnson’s journey in caregiving began with a deep-seated belief that her purpose in life is to care for others. 

“I think that’s my calling…caring for people,” she says. “I have a passion for this. It’s not about the paycheck. I feel good when I can go and help somebody and tell them that just because they’re in hospice care doesn’t always mean it’s the end and help them to live their life to the fullest.”

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Bettie Huckabaa, one of Johnson’s hospice patients for the last year, said that she feels truly blessed to have Johnson as her aide and praises her exceptional care. 

“Sometimes when you have to have someone come into your home, you feel kind of embarrassed but not with her,” Huckabaa said. “She makes you feel like you’re number one.”

Despite facing personal challenges, including the recent loss of her son and the passing of her husband two years ago, Johnson remains steadfast in her commitment to serving others. One of the ways she extends her love and care is through fostering children in the local community. For 27 years, Johnson has opened her heart and home to children who have experienced neglect, abuse, or trauma.

“I went where I felt like I could make a difference,” Johnson said. “You wouldn’t believe what some of these babies have seen and been through.”

Johnson’s dedication to her foster children goes beyond providing a safe haven. She ensures they have their own possessions and remains a pillar of support long after they leave her care. Many of her former foster children keep in touch, calling or visiting her on holidays and special occasions.

“A lot of them have not had that,” Johnson said. “ They haven’t ever had someone to love on them, someone who wants to buy [for them] and give [to them].”

Johnson’s coworkers speak of her with deep admiration and gratitude. Haley Dollar, a coworker, describes Johnson as having “the kindest soul” and being a hero to many. 

Monica Smith, another coworker, highlights Johnson’s selflessness, stating, “She gives so much of her time and so much of herself to other people that I think she sometimes forgets about herself because she’s so busy worrying about everybody else.”

Johnson’s impact extends far beyond her professional and foster caregiving roles. She is deeply involved in her community, always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need. Her dedication to serving others, her kindness, and her compassion make her a true hero in Greenville.