Being able to provide therapeutic support and quality services to all at-risk military families that ask for assistance is the ultimate goal for Project Sanctuary and we can only accomplish this through our experienced and talented team. For this reason, we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Carrie Bair-Norwood as the new Chief Development Officer for our organization.
Growing up in Colorado Springs, Carrie was always playing sports; volleyball being her first love. After moving to Columbia, Missouri her sophomore year in high school her educational journey with sports medicine began. As for many, things often change and two years into college Carrie shifted majors graduating with a BA in Business from Baker University’s Kansas City Campus.
Right after her shift in majors, Carrie started working for the YMCA in Kansas City and that’s when her passion for helping serve others began. As a high school and college athlete playing volleyball, basketball and soccer, her love for sports also played a role in her career. She left the Y in 2004 for a short time to support golf tournament planning and fundraising efforts for the NFL Alumni, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Matt Google Charity Golf Tournament.
But the YMCA wanted her back and a couple of years later she was recruited to Houston, TX to focus on membership growth and engagement strategy. From there, her YMCA career moved her from Houston to Boulder, CO and then to Colorado Springs, CO.
The move to Colorado Springs brought her home to three siblings and her mom and stepfather. The relocation also came with an unexpected surprise when Carrie met her native Colorado Springs husband Jeff in 2009. Cupid matched these two sports fans and created a new team in 2011. Jeff is a big Nebraska fan and Carrie supports her Missouri team but they both love the Rockies and Broncos. A little over a year later, their son Chase was born and their team expanded.
If you ask Carrie to share her most memorable experience during her 20-year career with the YMCA, she’ll most likely tell you this story. “As I exited the doors of our Colorado Spring YMCA, I came across a woman with a blank stare in her eyes. I simply smiled and said hello. I asked if there was anything I could help her with as she seemed a little out of sort. She simply said, ‘no, you just did exactly what I needed’. I’m sure I had a puzzled look on my face and before I could say anything else, she said, ‘I had been preparing to take my own life as it has been extremely hard for me for some time. I have felt lonely and lost and have no hope because people just don’t care. Every time I come into the Y, people always smile and look at me. And while that may seem silly, it has been extremely important to me’. We sat on a bench and talked for some time; her life was extremely hard. That story still sits with me today as so many people experience thoughts of suicide. In our busy world it is easy to walk right by someone and not even make eye contact. The simple things in life like a smile, hello and eye contact can mean the world to someone”.
While Carrie loves the beauty of the snow and grew up skiing, she was not a fan of the cold so she would ask her husband every winter to think of warm weather places he would consider moving to. So in 2017, Carrie accepted a new role with the San Antonio Y and Team Norwood packed up and relocated to San Antonio where they enjoy their beautiful home on two acres of land, their love for golf and being outside in the warm weather. They also try and make it annually to their favorite vacation spot in Cancun / Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Carrie is no stranger to military life. Her grandfather and father both served in the Army during WWII and Vietnam. Her brother is retired Air Force, fluent in Arabic, and spent most of his career as an Intelligence Officer. He deployed twice post 9/11 and currently manages the challenges of PTSD.
Project Sanctuary is honored to welcome Carrie as part of our leadership team!