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Saturday, 15 July 2017

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY - AFRICAN AMERICAN " DEPUTY FIRST CLASS NORMAN LEWIS " HE WAS KILLED IN A CRASH WHILE RESPONDING TO A MANHUNT FOR A SUSPECT ACCUSED OF KILLING ORLANDO POLICE SGT. DEBRA CLAYTON - GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

                                  BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           









































































Originally shared by George Eleady-Cole
Everything about "Big Norm" was giant.

His stature, at 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing about 300 pounds, his smile that had a way of infecting others, and his love of the job — even after 11 years of catching speedy drivers for the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

As hundreds of family, friends and law enforcement, some from as far as England, gathered Sunday to say their goodbyes to 35-year-old Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, they celebrated the legacy of their "Gentle Giant" and remembered all the laughs they shared during a three-hour funeral service.

Lewis was killed in a crash Jan. 9 while responding to a manhunt for a suspect accused of killing Orlando Police Sgt. Debra Clayton, along with his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December.

It was the second consecutive day of mourning, as the funeral service for Clayton was held Saturday afternoon, also at First Baptist Orlando on South John Young Parkway.

Meanwhile, suspect Markeith Loyd remains on the run — a full week after the back-to-back tragedies. Police and SWAT raided a vacant building in the Rosemont area Sunday evening, but did not find the convicted felon.

Pictures: Funeral services for OCSO deputy Norman Lewis
PICTURE GALLERY: See pictures from the funeral services for Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy Norman Lewis.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings honored Lewis during the service by awarding him with the agency's Purple Heart for his heroic actions responding to help capture Loyd.

Demings said Lewis, a former football player at the University of Central Florida, was a one-of-a-kind servant to his community, striving to make people smile and the community safer.

"It is a rare police officer who can write you a ticket and you thank him or her for doing so," Demings said.

One driver even wrote a letter to Lewis' supervisor about a ticket, or "coupon" as Lewis called them.

Deputy Norman Lewis: Ex-UCF football player killed in Orlando manhunt
"I am poorer in my wallet then when we met, but I am richer for the experience of someone who truly exemplifies a good cop," the letter read.

Before the service began, Lewis' parents, Norma and John, said their goodbyes. His casket, flanked by 40 flower arrangements, was then closed, and a large American Flag was draped over.

Songs of worship filled the pews, and a photo montage of Lewis' life flashed on a big screen. His mother and father sat in the front row.

The service, while celebrating Lewis' life, also honored a soul that fellow deputies will miss, especially those on his squad in the motorcycle patrol unit.

Through tears, Corp. Salvatore Grimando, described his friend as "unforgettable."

"You couldn't help but recognize his voice on the radio ... he would sound like he was having the best day of his life out there on the road, doing what he loved best, which was chasing down speeders on his Sheriff's Office motorcycle," he said before taking a minute to compose himself.

Along with having a strict ethical loyalty to follow and implement the law, Lewis had a set of personal rules that others had to abide by.

The first and most important guideline was to never touch his plate. His happy-go-lucky demeanor would quickly change, and a stern look would replace the smile he normally wore if someone even looked at one of his french fries the wrong way.

It was one of the only times Lt. Carl Santiago could recall seeing Lewis mad in the eight years they'd worked together.

He said Lewis' cool demeanor was something that attracted others to him. Lewis considered every opportunity on the job to make a new friend and help improve someone's day.

"It was a quality most of us envied," Santiago said.

His family also remembered where his interest in the force started, his uncle sharing a story of the two of them watching TV when a commercial flashed on the screen with a motorcycle officer.

He told his uncle, Leon Smiley, that was what he wanted to do. In 2005, that dream became a reality when he joined the Sheriff's Office. Along with his Sheriff's Office bike, he also had a Harley Davidson that he loved like his own child.

Whether it was 101 degrees or 30 degrees outside, Lewis would always be out riding and smiling.

After the service, hundreds filed outside. Two rows of motorcycle patrols flanked the crowd, and firetrucks extended their ladders to hold up a massive American Flag. The sorrowful echoes of "Taps" sounded as law enforcement folded the flag draped on Lewis' casket and presented it to his parents.

Then officers played Lewis' "10-7," the police radio code that indicates an officer is "out of service," over a loud speaker.

Fellow deputies say they intend on "carrying the torch" for Lewis and say every smile they get from a motorist will be for "Big Norm."

"He traded in his motor wings for angel wings," Santiago said. "Ride on, Big Norm." .

Another service for Lewis scheduled Monday at Murdock Baptist Church in Port Charlotte, followed by his interment at Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home and Gardens in Punta Gorda.