When the Chester Housing Authority started sending me press releases and inviting me to their events, I occasionally heard the name, Judge Shapiro. Then, at one of the community center meetings, in comes this old white lady in a wheelchair. I though she could be a resident but she wouldn’t have come out in those nice clothes just to attend that meeting.

And then she opened her mouth. I still didn’t know who she was but I knew she was somebody. I whispered the million dollar question to the lady next to me who told me that was Judge Shapiro. ‘Ain’t you the newspaper guy? Don’t you know?’ She may have slapped me in the face if I told her I never saw her and expected The Judge to be a man because no one ever said her first name (Norma L.).

I was in the judge’s presence at a few other CHA events, but I was too intimidated to meet her personally. I just admired from afar how powerful a personality she had, not knowing why she was so passionate on the matters of the housing authority.

CHA director, Steve Fischer, wrote a beautiful tribute in todays Delaware County Daily Times on Judge Shapiro that helped me better understand what she contributed to ‘the authority.’ I’ve gotten to know Mr. Fischer over the past few years and I know he held the Judge in high regard. I didn’t know that she nearly handpicked the entire management staff that’s running the place.

In a week where a powerful woman is front and center in her attempt to run the United States, it’s comforting to know our city has had the services of a powerful woman for over 20 years.