Former Korean War POW Bill Norwood Receives Veterans Service Award

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Former Korean War Prisoner of War Bill Norwood accepts the first Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Veterans Service Award from SETVH Council Co-Chairmen Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall and Cid Heidel.
Former Korean War Prisoner of War Bill Norwood accepts the first Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Veterans Service Award from SETVH Council Co-Chairmen Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall and Cid Heidel.

The Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council presented Bill Norwood its first award Monday during a Memorial Day Remembrance Service held on the Bradley County Courthouse Plaza.

Mr. Norwood, his voice cracking with emotion at times, said he did not deserve such an honor.

“This should be reserved for heroes and I’m no hero,” he said. “I’m just an old country boy from East Tennessee who happens to love his country and his fellow man.”

He thanked his nominator and the selection committee whose difficult task it was to choose a recipient “from that long list of those that are deserving — and it is a long list.”

The former POW recalled the many long days, weeks, months and even years that he endured, struggling for survival.

“I would often look around me, at the deplorable conditions, the pain, the suffering and the despair, and I would ask myself: Is the end result really worth all of this misery? Does anyone really care? Will anyone remember?

“You have answered my questions here today by presenting me with this prestigious award which makes me feel that, yes, there are those who care. After more than 60 years have passed, there are those who still remember and for this, I am eternally grateful,” he said.

SETVH Council co-chairmen Cid Heidel and Bradley County Commissioner Mark Hall presented the inaugural award to the former Korean War Prisoner of War. In explaining the purpose of the award, Mr. Heidel said that among the council’s missions, one is to recognize and support veteran activities and volunteer activities in this area.

“We are starting an annual award this year and it will go to a veteran or non-veteran who has demonstrated a consistent pattern of volunteer work that actively supports veterans’ programs, projects or activities in the Bradley County or local area,” Mr. Heidel said.

He said Mr. Norwood sets the standard when it comes to remembering those who have served this country and those who have given their lives in that service.

Mr. Norwood, a Polk County native, entered the Army in 1948 and in 1950, went to Korea with the 24th Infantry Division. He was captured six months later and held prisoner for 29 months until his release in 1953.

“Following his return, Bill dedicated his life to the welfare of his family, promoting patriotism, Americanism and serving his community, especially veterans,” Mr. Heidel said.

Mr. Norwood is a lifetime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and other organizations.

“His tireless commitment to serving all veterans, especially former POWs is legendary to say the least,” Mr. Heidel said. “Veterans from this local area, East Tennessee, state and nation have been positively impacted by his dedication and commitment to their cause.”

Mr. Norwood founded the Korean War ex-POW Association, an international organization consisting of survivors of North Korean POW camps.

“At a family’s request, he will travel anywhere in this country, and he may have even gone overseas, to give eulogies for these former Korean War POWs. He has traveled extensively across the country supporting and keeping Korean War POWs and their needs in the public eye,” Mr. Heidel said. “He played a leading role in having a memorial plaque commemorating all POWs at the Andersonville, GA Confederate Prison.”

Mr. Norwood has been a volunteer member of the Bradley County Firing Squad for 15 years. The squad performs more than 50 funerals each year. For the past 10 years, he has volunteered to transport veterans to Chattanooga, Murfreesboro and Nashville medical facilities. Mr. Norwood also volunteers for the Rolling Thunder.

“He works with them to prepare and serve special meals for veterans at state veterans homes in Murfreesboro and the VA Outpatient Clinic in Chattanooga,” Mr. Heidel said as he continued reading from the award citation.

Among his awards, Mr. Norwood has received the 2002 Veteran of the Year Award and the 2013 Charles Coolidge Veteran of the Year Award by the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council.

“Today, Bill continues to display the energy, commitment and dedication in supporting veterans’ causes, his community and Americanism. He is a sought after speaker in local schools, community and civic organizations,” Mr. Heidel concluded.

Kathy Smart, left, admires the first Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Veterans Service Award presented Monday to Bill Norwood, a former Korean War Prisoner of War.
Kathy Smart, left, admires the first Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Veterans Service Award presented Monday to Bill Norwood, a former Korean War Prisoner of War.

Congressional Candidate Michael Friedman Announces Economic Prosperity Plan

Dr. Michael B. Friedman, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the House of Representatives for Tennessee’s third district, has announced a plan to bring economic prosperity to the district.  The plan calls for an act of Congress that will allow for an expansion of high speed Internet to all areas of Tennessee’s Third Congressional District – particularly to ... (click for more)

Tennessee Highway Patrol To Hold Youth And Junior Trooper Academy In July

The Tennessee Highway Patrol announces its Youth and Junior Trooper Academy for pre-teens and teens.    The THP summer program will offer two sessions beginning July 11-15 for Middle School grades sixth through eighth.  The second session will be July 18-22 for High School grades ninth through twelth.   The program is designed to educate youth who may ... (click for more)

2 Shot On Glass Street In Drive-By Shooting Tuesday Night

Two people were shot Tuesday night in a drive-by shooting. Chattanooga Police responded at 10:34 p.m. to the 2400 block of Glass Street on the report of a shooting. They located two victims suffering from gun shot wounds. Chattanooga Police established a crime scene and facilitated first aid to the victims.  The victims were standing outside of a business when an unknown assailant ... (click for more)

Jury Chosen For Hawk Murder Trial

Twelve jurors and two alternates have been chosen for the trial of Billy Hawk.  Hawk is charged with a cold case murder from 1981 involving victim Johnny Mack Salyer, who was found in a locked steel drum in the Tennessee River. At the time of the murder, Salyer and Hawk were co-defendants in a cocaine distribution case.  Seventy-two jurors appeared for jury duty ... (click for more)

Calling Out Bad Behavior In St. Elmo - And Response (2)

I have lived in the St. Elmo community of Chattanooga for practicially all 52 years of my life. My grandmother moved to St. Elmo in 1919. My Dad was literally born in a home in St. Elmo and lived his entire 72 years in this community and my Mom has lived here 60 years of her life. I am very disappointed in what my neighborhood has become. I like people. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This June

As the month of June dawns anew, it is a fact that more marriages the world over are performed this month. So as we take our monthly walk through the garden, it is hard to remember when it has been this dry. Even so, we have a bushel of orchids and onions and don’t forget Father’s Day on the third Sunday of the month, that this is National Accordion Awareness Month, and that “Flip ... (click for more)