Norton Hurd is recipient of Pride of Middlesex award
The Middlesex Rotary Club has selected Norton Hurd, 96, of Deltaville as this year’s Pride of Middlesex award recipient.
Now in its 14th year, the Pride of Middlesex (POM) award is given annually by the Rotary Club to recognize and honor individuals or groups that exemplify the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”
This year’s Pride of Middlesex banquet recognizing Hurd and his contributions to the county will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in the Christchurch School cafeteria. Tickets are $40 per person, or $75 per couple. One may also reserve a table for eight persons for $300. Tickets are available at Hurd’s Hardware in Deltaville or by calling Pam Waldron 776-0032 or Ron Kauffman 694-6416.
After graduating from Lynchburg, Hurd became a teacher and coach at Amelia High School before signing up for the U.S. Naval Air Reserve in 1941. After receiving his flight wings in May 1942, Ensign Hurd was stationed in Minneapolis. His job was training pilots in open-cockpit planes in the frigid temperatures of Minnesota. Hurd, however, longed for combat.
Ensign Hurd repeatedly asked his skipper for a transfer, telling him “I don’t want to tell my grandchildren, when the war is over, that I fought the battle of Minneapolis.’’
After flight training sessions in New Jersey and Massachusetts, Lieutenant Hurd found himself aboard the legendary aircraft carrier Wasp, which was heading to Guam.
He was a member of the “Hell Razors,” and flew in the first group of Navy planes to bomb Tokyo. After surviving a showdown with a Japanese fighter near Chi-Chi Jima, one of his engines failed, and he crashed into the Pacific within 100 yards of the Wasp. After being rescued, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is given to those who demonstrate heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.
After returning home from the Pacific War Theater, Hurd opened Hurd’s Home Appliances in Deltaville in January 1946, figuring that after the war everyone would need appliances.
For companies, groups or organizations that wish to have their names included in the program sponsors, the cost is $350 for a table for eight. As at past POM banquets, proceeds will go to the charity and/or service organization selected by the honoree.
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