The 97th Annual Gonzales Chamber of Commerce banquet is an affair not to just raise funds for their operations but to recognize those from the community for outstanding volunteerism. This year's recipient of the prestigious David B. Walshak Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Norma Ehrig at the conclusion of the night's festivities.
Ehrig's community service was well documented by friends and associates in the lead-up to the event, properly vetting her for the deserved declaration. From counseling students at Gonzales East Avenue Primary School to her association with the area's child protective services, her activism not only affected the lives of the youth she assisted but drove others to volunteer along with her, creating a line of leadership in the community to help others in need.
Stories were told of Ehrig's work with underprivileged kids, and helping to buy clothing for them and food for their families when they were away from home in a hospital. She often gave freely of her time and funds, often without her family knowing how hard she worked. She joked later — while during a health scare — that her husband had to keep track of her checkbook and only then realized how she had been contributing financially to those in need. The family embraced it and the lighthearted moment lives on in family lore.
With her fundraising prowess and tenacity, she helped to secure funding for examination equipment that was essential in investigating instances of severe child abuse. That spark first let to the creation of an examination room at the hospital and later a full-fledged Gonzales Regional Child Advocacy Center. As a way to honor Ehrig and recognize her as a permanent board member, the center was renamed Norma's House in 2001.
That, including her commitment to other organizations such as TSTA, NEA, FUMC, LOGOS, 4-H and FFA earned her the moniker “Good Will Fairy” and set a new benchmark for community service here in Gonzales.