Folk Hero 2013
MANISTIQUE – As the oldest of eight children, Gulliver resident Lynn Norton probably didn’t expect much notoriety, but, armed with a wholesome laugh and genuine personality, that’s exactly what she’s received. In fact, Norton has become one of the most recognized faces in Schoolcraft County, and understandably so. She has served on numerous boards and with various organizations and has remained an active part of the community. For these reasons and more, Norton was recently selected as this year’s Folkfest Folk Hero.
A Folkfest Folk Hero is an honorary title given each year to someone who demonstrates exemplary commitment to the community and who goes above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis.
When she learned of her nomination, Norton said she was surprised and humbled.
“Deep down, I thought they could have found someone more deserving,” she said. “I really want to refuse the honor, but my sister-in-law, Gail LaCroix, would have been unhappy with that decision – she was instrumental in the beginning of Folkfest.”
One of Norton’s first endeavors within the community began the same year she was married, when she became the Gulliver Lake Association treasurer and secretary. Within this position, which continues to this day, Norton has written newsletters, coordinated walleye stocking, secured funding for paving, and worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to repair holes in the Gulliver Lake Dam.
In 1981, Norton was elected as Doyle Township clerk – she now serves as its supervisor. While serving in this position, she has worked to revamp the Doyle Township baseball field – raising funds for an electronic scoreboard. She also headed an effort to restore and remodel the township hall, and wrote grants for fire equipment, including a new fire truck.
Norton spent time working to improve the township’s parks and ski hill, as well as developing a Gulliver Recreation Plan, beautification committee, and township website.
She has assisted area seniors with income tax forms and other documentation needs, and lent a hand around the area by performing various other good deeds.
Norton has also served on the Schoolcraft County Zoning Board of Appeals and the Schoolcraft County Township Association – for 10 and 26 years, respectively. In addition, she is an alternate member of the 911 Authority Board and has assisted in the past as a 4-H leader.
“You cannot do anything without all of your friends, relatives, neighbors and others who work so hard on these different boards,” Norton said.
She is a member of the Divine Infant of Prague Catholic Church in Gulliver and volunteers for fundraisers and dinners, writes the church bulletin, served on its board, and assists on maintenance and restoration projects.
In 1988, Norton became a charter member of the Gulliver Historical Society. Still involved with the organization to this day, Norton serves as its treasurer and secretary, compiles yearly newsletters, and assists with various fundraisers.
Norton and the other members of the society worked tirelessly to create the Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse gift shop and memorial step. She was a part of the brick campaign, served on the 1995 Centennial Committee, and created lighthouse tours. Norton also served as a daily volunteer tour guide, and co-wrote approximately 16 grants for the society.
“I have a very understanding family and that has made what I’ve done possible,” Norton explained. “My husband … is my second hand, always filling in where he can. My children … have learned to give back to the community as well – Julie is on the Doyle Township Board and president of her union, and Brian is the Elk’s Club exalted ruler.”
In addition to all the endeavors in her “spare time”, Norton also worked at the State Savings Bank branch in Gulliver. She recently retired as the bank’s branch manager after 32 years.
The Folk Hero selection is not the first, and probably not the last, time Norton has been honored for her steadfast philanthropy. She was also nominated for a Governor’s Service Award and named the 1995 Schoolcraft County Person of the Year.
As for her newest honor, Norton said she will be proud to play a role in the Manistique’s annual celebration.
“I have always attended Folkfest; it is a great event for family and friends to get together and enjoy what the people of Schoolcraft County have to offer,” she said.
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Editor’s Note: The Folk Hero is chosen using nominations submitted to the Schoolcraft County Chamber of Commerce from residents.