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People Taking Action: Hampton YMCA volunteer gives tough love to seniors

Posted at 8:15 PM, Sep 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-01 20:15:11-04

Hampton, Va. - Wearing a swimsuit, Kurt Williams went in search of a special volunteer at the Hampton YMCA and found him in the pool.

Norman Smith heads up a water exercise class and there was really only one way to make the surprise presentation--in the water!

Once Kurt eased in, he got the attention of about 30 members ranging in age from 52 to 91 and let them know that he received an email from Clarence Braxton.

Braxton joined Kurt in the water and helped explain why he was there.

"I want to say one thing about Norman is that he's taken this class to another level."

Jean Parker loves coming.

"And everybody's here for the same cause--just to have good company and a good fellowship and you can't find good fellowship everywhere," says Parker.

They find it there along with some tough love.

Just ask 91-year-old Rhomie Heck.

"He runs a tight ship. He is a typical drill sergeant," says Heck.

Norman's been volunteering there for more than a decade. He's 73-years-old, but doesn't show it according to Jean.

"That young man right there.....Yes sir, he's a young man at heart. He's a young man looking out for you and even though he tries to drill us, it's for our good."

Clarence added in his email, "He's a very concerned person. He's focused on what's going on. He's concerned about everyone in this particular class."

That's why we presented Norman Smith with a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

He was very appreciative and thankful and then promptly told us in his gentle drill sergeant voice---"Okay, let's now get back to work!"