The award was presented by Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council co-chairs Cid Heidel and Mark Hall.
“Bill Norwood was selected because when you look at his life, it all has to do with veterans,” Heidel said. “He can be held up as an example of what can be done for veterans.”
The council’s executive committee made the selection for the inaugural award.
The executive committee is made up of Heidel, Hall, Bradley County Veterans Service Officer Joe Davis and Aubrie Lackie, council treasurer. Herb Stafford and Jimmy Kibler also gave input on this year’s recipient.
“He is dedicated to all veterans at any place, at any time,” Davis said. “He belongs to all the service organizations here in Cleveland.”
Davis said Norwood has been active in trying to help “his fellow POWs.”
“That what he lives for,” Davis said.
Norwood was a prisoner of war during the Korean War from April 1951 to August 1953.
Norwood enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1947. According to previous Cleveland Daily Banner articles, Norwood had tried previously to join the military but was rejected because he was underage.
He was only 17 when he was finally able to enlist.
“He was assigned to combat duty in Korea with the 24th Infantry Division soon after the outbreak of the Korean War,” according to a previous account.
The council hopes to make the award an annual part of the Memorial Day recognition.
“He is involved in a POW organization that has been all over the country,” Davis said.
Heidel said establishing such an award has been one of the organization’s goals since it was formed in 2006.
The award will be open to veterans and nonveterans who have donated significant time to serving veterans service projects or programs.
A local businessperson had approached the council about establishing an award, and committed to providing the plaques for the award each year.
Coverage of today’s annual Memorial Day ceremony, including the award presentation to Norwood, will be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.