Unsung Hero: Bill Norton - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Unsung Hero: Bill Norton

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MT. VERNON -- A Mt. Vernon man is going above and beyond to make sure the people in his community are taken care.

For the past two years, Bill Norton has been living his dream.

"Part of his dream is to be able to reach out and touch this community," said friend Chris Bean.

Bill manages the Mt. Vernon Christian Outreach and Re-sale shop where he considers every customer a friend.    

"You can't hardly find a nicer person, a more honest person, caring. I mean, he's up there. It would be hard to replace Bill," said friend Cindy Welch. 

He said he always wanted to have a faith-based place where people from all walks of life could go and feel comofrtable. Everyday he shows up with a smile on his face and a willingness to see to it, no-one leaves without getting the help they need.

"When you say Christian, it means arms open wide, it means help people from the highest to the lowest," said Bill. 

In 2016, soon after his store opened, Garden Glen Apartments caught fire, leaving 31 residents without a home.

"We had the clothing and we took, pretty much, two big trucks full of bags of clothing," added Bill. 
    
Cindy said Bill has always been there when she's needed help. Cindy has spent more than 20 years as a foster parent and Bill has always helped provide clothing for the kids.

"Sometimes when they get out of the program, they go back to their parents, they become homeless and Bill would help set them back up," added Cindy. 

Chris has known Bill for about six years and is the on the Board of Directors for the store. He said Bill and his wife regularly go to where the homeless are to make sure they have clothing, food and toiletries.

"Would I have thought that my wife and I would go out at night and do this a year ago? I would have said no, I think it was just something that the Lord laid it on my heart," explained Bill. 

Just this year, Chris says Bill met a sick homeless man at one of the warming centers.

"Bill actually loaded him up and took him all the way to St. Louis to the hospital in St. Louis and sat with him in the hospital for the two days while this man received the medical care that he needed. I don't know very many people that are willing to take two-days out of their lives fo someone that they just met," said Chris. 

Both Cindy and Chris say, Bill has a natural ability to love others unconditionally and they hope to meet more people like him.

"I wish, we would definitely have a better worked if we did," said Chris.

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