By Davis Merrey
February 22, 2024

Norma’s story

We can't change the world in one fell swoop, but we can change one person at a time. Learn the story of one of those people.
Norma was given a second chance because of her hard work and willingness to change (Photo provided)

There are some organizations in Oklahoma doing amazing work to help those who find themselves in desperate situations. This story is about how two of these organizations helped such a person. More importantly, it’s a story about Norma, her journey from deep despair to outright joy, and those who helped her get there. 

Norma works in our IT company on our service desk, helping computer users at organizations we support across central Oklahoma. She has been with us now for over a year and a half. In that time, she received her GED, attained an important IT certification, is training to be a cyber security engineer (her dream job), has company-paid health insurance and a matching savings plan, received a couple of raises, had her first vacation as a working mother, and is enjoying time with her two teenagers. She is a vital part of our company, and her teammates and our customers love working with her. 

Life is good for Norma. But that hasn’t always been the case. 

You see, several years ago, Norma made some bad choices. She found herself at odds with the law and facing separation from her children. Fortunately, she was referred to ReMerge, a pre-trial diversion program that serves mothers of minor children who are facing non-violent felony charges in Oklahoma County.

Shortly after that, she enrolled in the ReMerge IT coding curriculum and got a part-time job at a retailer. Norma had taken the first step toward a second chance. 

A few months later, ReMerge reached out to my company to discuss us becoming their Managed Services Provider to consult on and manage their IT systems. In the process, ReMerge Executive Director Jenna Morey told me about their outplacement program working with the Central Oklahoma Workforce Innovation Board (COWIB) to find employment for ReMerge graduates. After a tour and talking with the coding students, I told Jenna, whether you hire us or not, I want to participate in the outplacement program. 

Norma started working with us under the COWIB on-the-job training program in February 2022. Less than two years later, she is on track for her dream job. Norma has made the best of her second chance. 

Jesus told us to love our neighbor in Matthew 22:37–39. What did He mean by that? What kind of love is He speaking of? The apostle Paul offered his answer in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

When Jesus said “neighbor,” what did He mean? I think He meant everyone is our neighbor, and that includes the guy who cut me off in traffic this morning, the rude acting ticket agent at the airport, and especially the Normas of this world. 

Two books have given me a roadmap for my life—not that I haven’t veered off toward the ditch a time or two! 

First, the Bible, which I quoted from earlier, has steered my personal and professional life journey.

The other book, Business, Society, and the Individual, was part of a course I took in graduate school. Through case studies, it illustrates the responsibilities each of these entities has for the other two. It helps me make decisions that call for “fair play” in business dealings.

The decision to give Norma a second chance, even though fraught with risk, was an easy one because of what I’ve learned from these two books. 

Norma’s story is not only hers; everyone in our business has benefited from being a part of it. Society now has another contributing member, and my employees have learned that business is not all about numbers; it’s also about individual people giving and receiving the kind of love that Jesus and Paul spoke of.

I’m grateful to COWIB and ReMerge for providing us with the opportunity and joy of helping Norma. 

We can’t change the world in “one fell swoop,” but we can change one person at a time.

 Will you try?

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About Davis Merrey

Davis, is Owner/CEO of TeamLogic IT of Oklahoma City, part of an international network of franchisees providing IT support for businesses. He brings many years of experience in a variety of technology related industries, leading teams in providing technical solutions that respond to critical customer needs. The company culture is defined by its Mission Statement: “To help our fellow employees and clients be successful”.

Davis earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and an MBA in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He serves on several business related and non-profit boards of directors.