Reverend Hal Norton, an original 1949 Byrnes’ Scholar, dedicated his life to serving others as a pastor, 42 years as Chaplain of the Garden City Chapel, countless volunteer hours with the Pee Dee area Big Brothers, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, with children’s homes in 3 states, and many other youth-based programs. Rev. Norton never had children, so we within our Byrnes family were like children to him. His hugs were the best you could ever find, his humor was dry and hilarious, his skills as the original Games Facilitator were legendary, and his love for his Byrnes’ family was clearly evident. Current Scholars are asked to provide their nominations for a Big Brother or Big Sister who goes above and beyond.
2022 Recipient Jamie Rhodes
Kim Hatcher, 1992 Scholar, presented the Rev. Hal Norton Award for 2022.
The Adopt-a-Scholar program began in the late 1980’s to pair up alumni with current scholars to serve as a Big Brother or Big Sister.
Rev. Hal Norton was the ultimate Byrnes Big Brother and a role model to many of us over the years. Rev. Norton was quoted one time as saying, “From the moment that we, the first 30 scholars, met Governor and Mrs. Byrnes at their home in Spartanburg, I realized they really did care. I realized we were more than a ‘project.’ In those moments, the Byrnes gave their hearts to us and we knew it!” He wanted to pass on that same feeling to younger scholars.
Rev. Norton gave the best hugs and strived to make us laugh and smile. He served as the original Games Facilitator at Super Weekend. His love for his Byrnes Family was evident in everything that he did.
On a personal level, Rev. Norton was extremely important to me. I was lucky enough to have him present me with my scholarship, check on me when I least expected it, and even officiate my wedding! He was my living link to James F. Byrnes. As the years pass and our personal accounts decrease, it becomes imperative that alumni become that link for our newer scholars.
Being a part of the Adopt-a-Scholar program has become one of the most rewarding things in my life. While I like being able to get to know and help some of our scholars, they also keep me active as an alumnus and remind me of all the blessings I have re-ceived from this Foundation.
Current scholars were asked to nominate a Big Brother or Big Sister who also goes above and beyond, and today we recognize an alumnus who has done just that. This year’s recipient of the Rev. Hal Norton Award didn’t just become a Big Brother or Big Sister as a project; he has been very serious and dedicated to building relationships with younger scholars.
This person is described by a student as “one of the big reasons I see the James F. Byrnes Foundation as a family. He has shown me what it means to be a true Byrnes brother and I hope I can be as good to future Byrnes Scholars as he has been to me."
Another scholar wrote, “He’s taken the role of a big brother to new heights through an endless supply of compassion and guidance. He has served as an incredible role model for many scholars. His positive attitude and generosity will continue to motivate me to better myself as a scholar, a brother, and a man.”
Another student says, “Over the past four years, he has made an impact, not only in my life but many others in this Foundation. I am proud to call him my brother. We have built a friendship and made memories that will last a lifetime!”
This year’s recipient loves this Foundation and is dedicated to helping others just as he has been helped. Please join me in congratulating my brother and friend, Jamie Rhodes, as the 2022 Rev. Hal Norton Award Recipient!
Rev. Hal Norton Award Recipients
First awarded in 2019, the following Byrnes Scholars have received the Rev. Hal NortonAward:
2022 Jamie Rhodes, 1993 Scholar
2019 Kim Hatcher, 1992 Scholar
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