Norwood remembered in public visitation

February 14, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Whether it was his stand on health care, the US Army, or even small business, voters always seemed to find common ground with the late Charlie Norwood.

The congressman died at his Augusta home yesterday after losing his battle with lung cancer.

A public visitation for Norwood was held in Augusta tonight. There, News 12 spoke with some of his strongest supporters.

Any of us can only hope to have as many friends as Congressman Norwood did...friends who insist on celebrating the life he led.

"Charlie was an especially good friend to the military," said military retiree Tom Phair.

"He loved doing what he did," said longtime friend Roy Simpkins.

"He represented Columbia County, which is where I live, very well," said another mourner.

On a day devoted to Congressman Charlie Norwood, there's nothing but good things to say.

"It gets to you right now, because this is a tremendous loss to the community and to the nation," Simkins said.

Simkins knew Norwood for more than 20 years. He says his dear friend loved his country so much, he left his dental practice to make it safer.

"He was just so strong and so smart and so sensitive," Simkins said.

Phair appreciated Norwood's commitment to the US Army. Norwood is credited for fighting to keep Augusta's Fort Gordon afloat in 2005.

"He was a very hard working, hard charging person, and extremely dedicated," Phair said.

Perhaps it was thanks to that dedication that the congressman continued to be reelected. He served Georgia's 10th District for a dozen years, tackling patient's rights and national security.

Neurosurgeon Ildemaro Voacan remembers helping with Norwood's very first campaign.

"He was a honest man, straight-forward," Voacan said. "Tried to do the best for this district."

So now the district is doing its best for Charlie--for the man it sent to Capitol Hill and for the man it will now bury at home.

"This is where Charlie would want to be for sure, and I'm sure he's in a better place right now," Simkins said.

Among tonight's other attendees were former congressman Max Burns and former Augusta commissioner Barbara Sims.

Everyone we spoke with adored the congressman, and they all agreed: "It just won't be the same without Charlie."


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