Recognition doesn’t come easy for Paula. Her quiet demeanor, warm smile, and twinkle in her dark eyes immediately draw you in. Today, we recognized Paula at the Leading Age Silver Star Awards Luncheon, where remarkable seniors are recognized for making a huge impact on their community. The event was lovely and the room packed, and Paula is sitting with her sister and brother-in-law. When her name is announced, the guests applaud and cheer. Paula slowly stands, and with the aid of trusted friends, she makes her way to the podium.
She takes the microphone, and confidently thanks everyone for being there at this special moment and quickly concludes with something Paula would only say: “Glen, said I could say seven words; I’m telling you, brevity is the soul of wit, so you can consider me very witty.”
A former speech pathologist, Paula lives at Crista Shores as an active and very independent woman. She was honored for the many clubs and initiatives started under her leadership while living at CRISTA. Paula is an encourager of others, and she will tell you she “loves making a difference.”
Paula started her career in Radio & Television and spent 15 years as “The Weather Gal” and exercise host on her local station. After starting her family, Paula decided to go back to school to earn a degree in Speech Pathology. She loved learning so much, she joined the faculty at Old Dominion University where she taught Speech Pathology for many years.
Upon moving to the Silverdale area, Paula worked for the Kitsap School District as a Speech Pathologist for grades Pre-K through 12th grade. “I loved the children and when you know you are making a difference it is such a pleasure.”
Her biggest joy comes from her family! She is a proud mother of two boys and grandmother to one grandson. You can tell they absolutely adore her and they visit her frequently. What you don’t easily notice when you first meet Paula, however, is her loss of sight.
Paula was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration 36 years ago and has learned to adapt as her vision has slowly slipped away. In the early years she quickly decided that making the most of her new reality was her best option. Believing that it is best to always find another way, she started practicing activities of daily living before she completely lost her sight. Her advice for those who have newly found themselves in a similar situation, “believe the glass is half-full, do not give up! There is always another way.”
Paula moved to Crista Shores when it was no longer possible for her to live alone and quickly began adapting to her new surroundings. She memorized the lights and patterns in the building so she could get around on her own. On her walker a sign reads, “VISUALLY IMPAIRED, PLEASE GREET ME”.
Paula told me, “You can be as handicapped as you want. I don’t have much patience for self-pity.” Her resourcefulness has allowed her to identify priorities as well. People who need encouragement, laughter, and kind words guide her daily routine. She spends her time working in her various clubs and groups around the community. Paula formed the “Low Vision Support Group,” which she leads monthly. She is also a member of the Washington Council for the Blind and uses their services frequently, and often advises others to do the same. She uses their free Books on Cassette along with her SMART Reader. She loves that technology is there to support her vision needs and she is pretty savvy using it. Her Alexa device also is available to read her current books.
As you can tell, Paula likes to keep busy and doesn’t think of herself as handicapped. She attends the “Mind Matters” class twice a week and regularly brings in guest speakers, authors and local celebrities to meet with “Just Us Girls,” a club she founded.
Paula is one of the busiest people we know. She participates in many activities such as Fashion Show Pamper Parties, Wellness Walks, and Peninsula Council for the Blind, Drama Production / Dinner Theater and Welcoming Committee.
Congratulations, Paula Herbert, 2019 Winner of Leading Age Washington Silver Star Award.
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