GREENFIELD — When Dave Norris began working as the director of rehabilitation services at Hancock Regional Hospital 23 years ago, he would walk through the office and let out a grand sigh, not unlike a horse’s nicker, said secretary Billie Giddings.

She began calling him “Mr. Ed, the talking horse,” and the joke grew from there.

So when Norris revealed he would be moving to Fort Worth, Texas, Giddings knew she had to arrange an equine-related surprise to send him on his way. With permission from hospital administration, Giddings planned for one of her horses to be waiting outside the hospital on the front lawn on Norris’ last day. With the help of Danielle Bassett, 16, of Shelbyville, Giddings’ granddaughter, Norris took a quick ride around the front lawn after a cowboy-themed reception.

Norris was plenty surprised and laughed before he tried to climb on.

He said he loved working with the people in the rehab department.

“I came 22 years ago for a job,” he said. “I found a family.”

Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or