Norris Burkes MFA '13 Named Winner of Will Rogers Humanitarian Award
Retired military chaplain and syndicated columnist Norris Burkes is the recipient of the 2019 Will Rogers Humanitarian Award sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry, great grand-daughter of Will Rogers, is scheduled to present the award June 21, at the dinner session of the NSNC conference in Buffalo, N.Y.
Burkes, of Auburn, Calif., engages in work involving a variety of charitable causes and activities. A particular series of columns focuses on a humanitarian project, “Chispa,” initiated by his daughter, Sara. Chispa has a mission to help children in Honduras, Central America, sponsoring children’s libraries and equipping them with quality books in Spanish by working with community leaders and educators.
Norris Burkes started writing his column, “Spirituality in Everyday Life,” in 2001 for Florida Today. He has written national columns for Gannett, and later Gatehouse, and is now a self-syndicated columnist in about 35 newspapers. He is a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain who served for 28 years, including time as a combat duty chaplain in Iraq. Burkes has a BA in religion and journalism from Baylor University, Waco, Texas; a Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Seminary in Mill Valley, CA; and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific.