Creating a movement of giving that restores faith in humanity and love for fellow man.” Words we should all live by and the mantra of Officer Tommy Norman who takes community policing to the next level. Officer Norman is receiving, The First Responders Children’s Foundation’s Public Service Hero Award. The award is given to first responders who demonstrate leadership and exemplary service advocating for their communities and upholding the highest level of public trust. Officer Norman’s intrinsic desire to help those less fortunate is truly motivating. His passion leaves us wanting to learn more about the man behind the uniform, additionally, it is why I am proud to honor him with our Public Service Hero Award.
If you take the time to scroll on Instagram for @TNorman23, with over 1 million followers, you will be introduced to Officer Norman and his family in North Little Rock. They are called the “All-Star Crew” – Aaron, Arthur, Larry & Tina. – along with other members of the community whom he calls his loved ones.
“Door by door, Officer Norman works to empower individuals wherever he goes. The relationships he has forged within North Little Rock and in communities across the country over the past 30 years has been one of the largest aspirations in his life.
Officer Norman’s goal of demonstrating to the world that “every badge has a heartbeat” has gained him national notoriety. The rapper Jayceon “The Game” Taylor and his son were so inspired by his benevolence that they started a GoFundMe campaign to support Officer Norman’s life calling and help him launch his foundation Mission Give.
Mission Give is a true representation of the man himself. The organization builds communities through acts of compassion that inspire citizens from all backgrounds to exhibit selflessness and empathy.
Former President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing stated, the core pillars behind community policing are: building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, officer training and education, and officer safety and wellness. As a first responder, Officer Norman has excelled in these areas throughout his career.
As the Executive Director of the First Responders Children’s Foundation and a former presidential appointee in President Barack Obama Administration, I have great respect for public servants and how they uphold a public trust. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Officer Norman, and it is my hope that his acts of service inspire a call to action for us all to practice selflessness, empathy, and to be an advocate for humanity.
Community policing over the decades has been about “officers on their beat,” getting to know residents who live in the communities they serve and protect. Leading up to my in-depth conversation with Officer Norman, he would send me videos sharing his life and introducing me to his family. I was curious to find out what motivated him to pursue his campaign of community service.
Officer Norman told me he has been volunteering since his early teens. “It’s in my blood,” he proclaimed. “I’m following my mom’s example of sharing kindness through giving. She passed it along to us.” Growing up his mother took care of people in their homes. She would also take him and his siblings to nursing homes.
“She taught all of us to put others first, even if it meant giving the shoes off our feet or the shirts off our backs. She encouraged us to put others first and to be there for people who needed more help than our family.”
“Volunteering at such a young age,” he continued, “I fell in love with getting involved and being a public servant, even before I could drive.” He told me when he was in his early teens, he would skim the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette every Sunday to read the High Profile section to look for volunteering opportunities. His mother would drive him to participate in the local Meals on Wheels program and the United Ways’ Paint Your Heart Out initiative where he would help fix up houses within the community.
A twin and the youngest of nine, his older brother, Michael, was like a father figure to Officer Norman. A minister, Michael always enjoyed playing basketball with his younger brother and bringing him to work. It’s evident that the generosity of his family had a profound effect on him. It also explained Officer Norman’s obsession with #23 and his love for Michael Jordan.
Over the years, his family is what kept him energized about building amazing relationships within his community. He shared with me, his family knew early on and to this day, that he is in his element when he is helping others. In his early years of service, Officer Norman would take his children when they were younger to community meetings and block parties. He said it was a way of life for them (children) as well.
From elementary school to first putting on his uniform in 1998, giving back was a part of his life. Officer Norman shared that people thought becoming a police officer would change who he was. He quickly told me, that was not the case.
“I would talk to 100 people a day. I would work an 8hr shift, go home change out of my uniform to get back out in the community. I needed more. I needed more of the community and they needed more of me” Officer Norman said.
“I believe people knowing what it’s like to truly be loved by someone in the community has a powerful effect on them.” Officer, Tommy Norman told me.
I learned that Officer Norman would never be satisfied with helping one person or one home. He shared, “I always want to help in big … big numbers to develop relationships with everyone, and follow up with commitment.” The community learned quickly he did not have a hidden agenda, and that his only agenda was to ensure they felt loved and respected.
Officer Norman said it best, “What God has told me, is I’m more than a police officer. The community sees me, and they see my heart. I gravitate towards individuals who society has turned their backs on. I want my legacy to be one of a man who is an advocate of humanity. I hope my work inspires others to give even when I’m no longer here on this earth to give.”
Are you thinking about how to be part of a cultural movement? If you want to be an advocate for the children of first responders, you can be a FRCF Ambassador. Our Ambassadors support and ensure the children of first responders, receive the resources necessary to help them thrive and become the heroes of tomorrow. You can learn more about our Ambassador program at https://firstresponderkids.org/ambassadors/. Also, you can aide Officer Norman and his mission to restore faith in humanity and love for our fellow man, by advocating humanity with Mission Give. By supporting, Mission Give and Officer Norman you will be helping him show the world through his social media presences that anyone can give back to their community in a myriad of ways, for more information go to http://mymissiongive.org/become-an-advocate/.
FRCF, which ensures that the children of first responders receive the resources necessary to help them thrive, shares Officer Norman’s passion for giving back through public service, which is why we’re proud to extend him our Public Service Award.
Post written by Dawne Troupe. Photos courtesy of Officer Tommy Norman’s Instagram @tnorman23