Norm English: Silverton’s distinguished service award winner

January 2017 Posted in Community
Norm English

Norm English

By Nancy Jennings

Norm English likes wearing different hats during his strolls in town. One can say he has been hanging his hats on many community projects over the years. Born and raised in Silverton, English, 72, is delighted to receive this year’s “Distinguished Service Award.”

His volunteer community service projects include eight years at SACA, three years as Congregational President at Trinity Lutheran Church and four years as president of the Silverton Mural Society. He was appointed by the mayor to be a member of Silverton’s Historic Landmarks Commission and served nearly three years. He was a member of Silverton’s Tourism Promotion Committee for nearly three years and helped disperse grants to various organizations. He was president at the Silverton Country Historical Society (SCHS) for four years.

Jane Jones, member of the SCHS, nominated English for the award. A fellow community volunteer, she noticed his involvement in many projects around town. “Every time I was anywhere I would see him volunteering and I just felt that he should be recognized,” Jones said.

English is thrilled.

“It’s a fantastic honor. My efforts have been recognized. I think we all do things that are above and beyond in a lot of areas in our lives, but sometimes we just fall under the radar. I’m very pleased,” he said.

He and his wife, Margaret, have been married for 45 years. They have two children, Mark and Anne, and four grandchildren: Addie, Olive, Liam and Will. Mark will soon be on the board at the SCHS.

Retired since 2008, English had been a field auditor for the Workman’s Compensation Division for the state of Oregon.

He was the visionary of Silverton’s Fallen Heroes Memorial Plaza, which made its existence official on Veteran’s Day 2015 at a special dedication ceremony. “For the first nine months of that project I was the only committee member,” he said. He was involved in the three-year project from start to finish. “It’s rewarding when you see family of some of those fallen heroes and talk to them.”

About a year ago, English was contacted by State Rep. Vic Gilliam, who wanted a mural to grace the new Rite Aid building on McClaine Street. English immediately took charge. He spoke to the East Coast corporate Rite Aid executives and now there is a mural depicting the history of Silverton health care. The late local iconic artist Larry Kassell painted it. At Silverton’s Trinity Lutheran Church, English is presently heading a committee celebrating its upcoming 125th anniversary. He’s in the process of restoring an historic room there, which will showcase various memorabilia.

English enjoys writing in his spare time, and is presently working on the second volume of his memoirs. “It’s interesting to bring to the surface and recall things that have happened in my life that I think is important to put on the written page.”

Fellow community members aren’t shy about sharing their feelings about him.

Chris Schwab, secretary at the SCHS, appreciates English’s get-it-done attitude.“He is not the kind of person to be a part of an organization and just sit back,”she said.
Rick Bittner met English six years ago while both were involved in a community event. “He walks everywhere with a purposeful and determined gait,” Bittner said. “Norm is deserving of this award because he unselfishly and continually involves himself in activities. His involvement in each activity is long term, not simply to find quick gratification.”
Gus Frederick, vice president at SCHS, said English’s knowledge base of local history is unequaled. “He has repeatedly volunteered his time and money into preserving Silverton’s heritage. Norm has proven to be indispensable to many groups and organizations that are lucky enough to call him a member.”

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