Congressman Norwood comes home

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February 7, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Congressman Charlie Norwood is back home in Augusta.

News 12 was the only station at Augusta Regional Airport when the congressman's plane landed tonight. We also talked to one of his longtime friends.

US Representative Charlie Norwood has decided not to receive any more hospital care for lung cancer.

The popular congressman declined a surgery to remove a tumor on his liver, and tonight he's back home in Augusta.

Congressman Norwood will be receiving 24-hour hospice care in his home. He's been getting treatment in the Washington, DC area since November.

Norwood touched down just before 9 o'clock tonight at Augusta Regional.

It was a quiet night at Bush Field, even with the arrival of Charlie Norwood. Things were handled very privately out of respect for the family. We maintained a good distance as he was lifted off his jet and transported home.

EMTs rolled a stretcher to his jet and delicately transferred him to an ambulance. Norwood didn't look as he had on the campaign trail, but instead like a man who's been battling his health for years.

News 12 spoke with Norwood's longtime friend David Barbee, chairman of Richmond County's Republican Party.

"He's been a mentor, he's been a confidant of mine, for the whole ten years I've been involved in Republican politics," Barbee said.

His heart is heavy after hearing Norwood chose to leave a Washington, DC hospital.

Most recently, the 65-year-old had been undergoing chemotherapy after a lung transplant in 2004.

Norwood says he'd rather be cared for inside his Augusta home.

"It's certainly been a medical rollercoaster these last few years," Barbee said.

Even so, Norwood's stellar reputation has never wavered. He's well-known throughout Georgia's 10th District, the district he's represented for seven consecutive terms.

It's the district where he perhaps maintains his closest relationships. He and his family are members of Augusta's Trinity on the Hill church.

And it's the district where he has chosen to spend his last days.

"He's been a champion about it," Barbee said. "He's fought hard. He's still fighting. I mean, he's not giving up on anything. Charlie Norwood, he doesn't give up on anything."

Barbee is an only child, so he says he's had to "adopt" his brothers. He says he's proud to call Charlie Norwood a brother.

Georgia's governor released the following statement on Charlie Norwood's return to Augusta.

"Mary and I were very saddened to hear that Congressman Norwood's medical treatment has not progressed as well as we had hoped.

"I visited with Charlie in Washington last week and was very encouraged by his strength and determination.

"This could not have been an easy decision for him and Gloria to make. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlie and Gloria and the entire Norwood family as they return home to Augusta.

"We join all Georgians in continued prayers for Charlie's recovery."

If you'd like send along your well-wishes to the congressman, we've posted a blog about Charlie Norwood here.