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.

PHOTOS: Mark Making Christmas Party

Mark Making held its annual Christmas party. (click for more)

Chattanooga Zoo Hosts Winter Camp

The Chattanooga  Zoo’s Winter Camp begins on Dec. 22 and will be offering a series of one-day education adventures covering themes such as animal adaptations, hibernation, and more. Winter Camp campers can choose to participate on chosen days or sign up for the entire series of programs. Camp takes place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Winter camp dates are as follows: Dec. 22, 23, 29, ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Proceed With Manager Bonuses In 2 Steps; Considering Employee Performance Incentive Plan

Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said Wednesday night that the hospital plans to proceed with $1.7 million in manager bonuses in two steps. Current participants in the incentive program will receive 50 percent of the approved 2014 performance plan this month. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to the management group in July 2015. At the same time, Mr. Spiegel ... (click for more)

Man Shot In Chattanooga On Wednesday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot Wednesday afternoon. At approximately 3:16 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital for a person shot. P olice were advised that a male victim arrived suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. O fficers are attempting to locate a crime scene at this time. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with ... (click for more)

A Letter To The NAACP

I believe when a "unarmed" man is evil, he will try to beat a police officer on his head in hopes to knock him out, in hopes to kill him. We saw the bruises on the officer's face.  This evil force tried to take his gun away from him , Proof was in the autopsy.  Why did Michael Brown  try to take his gun away from him? Exactly, to kill the officer.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Advice: Just Be Normal

Matthew Kerlin, by his own admission, claims to be just a normal guy. But I am of the opinion, after reading his speech following Samford University’s Winter Commencement exercises, that the university’s Assistant Dean for Spiritual Life is a bit more than that. Dr. Kerlin knows college kids well and his advice to the most recent flock of America’s graduates resonates with brilliance. ... (click for more)