Salads, hot meals, pie, snacks, coffee, ice cream — there many wonderful things at the Boone Hospital Center cafeteria. But one of the best things about the cafeteria is that Maddy Norvell works there.
Maddy makes sure the staff and visitors who cross her path get a smile with their meal.
“Well hey, why frown?” she said.
Maddy has worked in the cafeteria for 11 years. She loves interacting with hospital staff members and visitors who come to visit each day.
“You see them come back time, after time and they always remember you,” she said.
Maddy grew up in Iowa. She joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 after graduating from high school. She spent a busy 22 months in the Navy, which included going through boot camp in Maryland before being transferred to San Diego, San Francisco and Hawaii.
During her time in the Navy she married Lawrence, a fellow Navy service member. Maddy received an honorable discharge from the Navy when she became pregnant with the first of their four children, all of whom were born at a military hospital in Hawaii.
“Two of them were born when it was a territory, two when it was a state,” she said.
After 10 years in Hawaii, the family moved regularly with Lawrence’s transfers during his more than 28 years of military service. Maddy enjoyed the moves.
“If you get transferred every two or three years, all your garbage gets cleaned out,” she said with a smile.
When Lawrence retired from the service, the family finally settled in Columbia in 1982.
Maddy worked in finance for the City of Columbia and the Water and Light Department. When it came time to retire, Maddy quickly discovered that lifestyle wasn’t for her. Lawrence had already passed away and Maddy wasn’t happy by herself at home.
“Retirement lasted six months, I couldn’t take it,” she said. “I needed to have to get up in the morning, to have a responsibility to do, and I just like working.”
She chose to come work at Boone Hospital because she had three operations here earlier in life and was always impressed by the service.
“They were always friendly, everyone always took care of me,” she said.
She has great respect for the work done by the hospital’s caregivers, and she’s happy to be here as part of the team. However, she still misses some of the aspects of military life.
“I think I need to get transferred someplace so I can clean out my garage,” she said with a laugh.