Taking Care of People and Taking Care of Equipment: Meet Norberto Cruz

“Taking care of people versus taking care of equipment,” says Norberto Cruz, who speaks to his philosophy as a maintenance supervisor for the Texas Civil Commitment Center (TCCC) in Littlefield, TX.

“You want to be able to figure out why it happened or what broke and how to fix it,” he says. “But ultimately, your goal is to have it running and keep it running. Especially if you can make it so they never knew it was broken.”

“He’s so proficient,” says Angelena Johnson, assistant facility administrator. “No matter what you ask him to do, he does it. He’ll come down even if it’s just something minor. ‘We got these issues.’ ‘I can take care of it, sure.’ It’s always ‘sure’. That’s his main word, but he’s always more than willing.”

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Norberto Cruz, maintenance supervisor.

Angelena remembers a time when Norberto’s willingness led to a confrontation with a snake.

“He had a big bull snake, and he picked the snake up with his hand, and the snake bit him. And I said, ‘Okay, well, how did you get the snake loose?’ And he said, ‘I had to get my other hand and lift.’ And at that point, I just wanted to pass out.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, if there’s a snake, he’s going to get the snake. It doesn’t matter what it is. He’s awesome,” Angelena continues.

As part of his job, Norberto works with residents who are part of the maintenance crew.

“And I’ve had several that had no clue what they were doing when they first joined and come to find out later that they were good at it,” he says. “And they discovered it themselves. And that kind of gives us pride that they left here knowing, learning something from one of us, or from all of us, at the same time. And that’s a good feeling.”

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TCCC staff (left) and Norberto Cruz, maintenance supervisor (right).

When not at work, Norberto enjoys watching movies, going out to dinner, and spending time with his family. He also likes to read and fly his drone. When it comes to his job, and the work accomplished, he passes credit to his staff.

“I have to recognize my team. Freddy Sierra and Christopher Soliz, they’re the backbone of this operation. My team is great. I mean, they deal with me, so they have to be great.”