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.

Black Art In America Founder Visits Chattanooga Saturday

Collectors, art lovers and Chattanooga visual art enthusiasts are invited to attend an exhibition of fine African American Art presented by Najee Dorsey, founder of Black Art In America.  The exhibit includes Mr. Dorsey's work, along with other works by African-American artists.  Works on paper by John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett and other 20th Century masters will be available ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Department Officer Retires After More Than 25 Years Of Service

After nearly 26 years of service to the city, Officer Ray Figg has served his last patrol shift as a Dalton police officer. Officer Figg's retirement from the agency was marked with a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Police Services Center. Chief Jason Parker presented Officer Figg with his badge in front of a gathering of family, friends, and fellow DPD officers Tuesday afternoon. In ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Multiple Times On 4th Avenue; 2nd Youth Shot Twice On Pinewood Avenue; Woman Shot Twice On 25th Street

A teen was shot multiple times on 4th Avenue on Monday night. The victim was 19-year-old JaMarcus Davis. A second teen, 18-year-old Jaylain Ballard, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on Pinewood Avenue. Marion Heard, 45, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on 25th Street. In the first incident, Chattanooga Police responded at 7:20 p.m. to the area of the 2600 block ... (click for more)

Volkswagen To Spend Up To $14.7 Billion To Settle Allegations Of Cheating Emissions Tests And Deceiving Customers On 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 ... (click for more)

General Bell: Chattanooga Needs The Coolidge Medal Of Honor Heritage Center - And Response (4)

I'm pleased and indeed compelled to let you know a bit more about the exciting and most honorable "Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center" planned for Coolidge Park.     Here's what the Heritage Center will be:  It will be a fitting capstone for Chattanooga's Coolidge Park on Northshore in downtown Chattanooga.  While this exceptional Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pat Summitt’s Dash

In 1996 a woman named Linda Ellis wrote one of life’s most beautiful poems. Called “The Dash,” its first two verses read like this: “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. “He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what ... (click for more)