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Supervisors honor Bob Norris with Jack Dalton Award

COLLINSVILLE-In recognition of his work to make Henry County a better place to live, work and play, Bob Norris was named the recipient of the Jack Dalton Community Service Award.

Established in 2001, the award is presented annually to the Henry County resident who best exemplifies the standards for community service set by the late Jack Dalton, who served on the Henry County Board of Supervisors more than 24 years and was board chairman at the time of his death on May 24, 2000. Nominations were received from members of the community, and the board was asked to rank all nominees in accordance to preference.

At the board’s 6 p.m. meeting, Horsepasture District Supervisor Debra Buchanan said that Norris – a mountain biking enthusiast – is the creator of Mountain Laurel Trails, an eight-plus mile dirt mountain bike trail in Horsepasture that utilizes more than 150 acres of his own land. Norris has plans to develop about 15 miles of trails altogether, she added.

Mountain Laurel Trails has been designated the “Best Mountain Bike Trail in Virginia” and has ranked 32nd in a list of the best mountain bike trails in the entire world. Because of his efforts, she said, tourists from all over the globe have come to Horsepasture to enjoy his trails, increasing local tourism and boosting sales at local businesses and lodging facilities.

In addition, Norris serves the community in other capacities. A talented bagpiper, he frequently provides a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes at graveside services for deceased veterans and public safety personnel.

“This year’s recipient exemplifies the characteristics of selfless community service that makes the perfect candidate for the Jack Dalton Award,” Buchanan said.

Receiving the award, an emotional Norris said that “there are plenty of people that really deserve it more than I do.”

Norris had been scheduled to offer the board an update on Mountain Laurel Trails and did not realize that the update was partly a pretext to get him to the meeting without him realizing he was the Jack Dalton Award winner.

He said that he began constructing the trail in 2014/2015 after he was diagnosed with a medical condition and his doctor advised him to exercise.

“I’ve done that now through mountain biking,” Norris said. “When the trail started out, it was just a half-mile track. … It’s now grown into almost ten miles and we have dozens of people out there every week; not only mountain bikers, but joggers and hikers. We have trail running and we have beginner’s rides. … Just this weekend alone, we had some people from Atlanta, Georgia and some people from New York City.”

Lois Dalton, wife of the late Jack Dalton, was on-hand to present Norris with the award

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