Retirement Party Held for Former Council Member Norma Ross
By Joe Morey
A retirement party was held Wednesday, June 26, for Norma Ross, long-time employee and former council member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe. For over 30 years Norma has been a part of the accounting department, executive director and then Secretary-Treasurer of the LCO Tribal Governing Board from 2013 to 2017.
Her last official day employed by the tribe was Friday, June 30.
The party was held at the Sevenwinds Casino Conference Center and was attended by a large crowd of family, friends and co-workers who enjoyed a feast and comedic entertainment provided by Rob Fairbanks of Leech Lake.
At the party, Norma was presented with several gifts from friends and the tribal governing board.
Former LCO Secretary-Treasurer Brian Bisonette, who worked alongside Norma for many years, said a few words regarding her retirement.
“It’s my honor to emcee this event tonight and show her the respect that she deserves…as she is one of the strongest women I’ve ever had the privilege to work with; a person I’ll always have the deepest admiration for; a role model for future Women Leaders and above all, someone I’m proud to call my friend,” Bisonette said.
Bisonette joked about Norma not really retiring and that he expected her to work forever.
“I still don’t want to believe Norma is really retiring, it just won’t be the same without her. I’m still waiting to find out Norma’s retirement is just an April Fool’s joke or that this is really the first of four retirement parties.
“Over the last thirty years of working for the Tribe, I’ve grown to appreciate and admire many attributes that Norma possesses. For starters, I know of very few others that have the work ethic as Norma. As I stated earlier, she’s worked day in and day out, most times the first one in the building and last to go home,” Bisonette said.
As executive director, Norma ran the day to day operations of the tribe, which Bisonette noted wasn’t an easy job. She mastered juggling the internal politics of the Governing Board, while meeting the daily challenges and responsibilities of the Tribal organization.
“The legacy you leave us with is filled with memories of your contributions, influences and support. It won’t be the same without you, and speaking on behalf of your friends and colleagues, I’m going to miss your presence immensely at the office. We’ve shared jokes, had serious discussions and resolved numerous internal and external problems. I’m going to miss your expertise and common sense,” Bisonette said. “I hope the next chapter in your life brings you happiness and prosperity, and for those of us working for the tribe…our new chapter begins also. As in our Ojibwe customs, your retirement isn’t good-bye…. so I’ll say giigawaabaamin (we’ll see you).”
Norma presented a blanket with past and present LCO Tribal Governing Board members L-R) Don Carley, Jason Schlender, Louis Taylor, Jason Weaver, Rose Gokee, Brian Bisonette and Agnes Fleming.
Norma is a huge Packer fan, so Jason Schlender presented her with this framed photo.