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A grieving community honors the life of "Big Norm"


Second funeral for law enforcement officer this weekend

On his application to be an Orange County deputy, Norman Lewis wrote this answer to the questions "What are your hobbies? What do you like to do?"

"I like to make people smile."15965391_1216006488478338_4067784848364353234_n

Norman Lewis died at the young age of 35, but in that time he made a lot of people smile.

Hundreds came to the First Baptist Church of Orlando this afternoon to pay their respects and mourn the death of Lewis, among them his relatives, friends, police officers from multiple agencies, elected officials and his beloved colleagues of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, many of whom fought back tears to speak about their friend "Big Norm".

It was the second funeral for a law enforcement officer in as many days. Yesterday Orlando Police Department Lieutenant Debra Clayton's funeral was held - also at First Baptist Church of Orlando.fullscreen-capture-1152017-30600-pm-bmp

Lewis was a "motor man"... a member of the OCSO Motors/DUI Unit. He was a graduate of the University of Central Florida where he played football for the Knights as an offensive lineman and received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He joined OCSO in 2005.

"He was a gentle giant," said his uncle Lloyd Smiley. "He loved his job and everyone loved him."

Lewis died in a traffic crash at the intersection of Balboa Drive and North Pine Hills Road on Monday during the pursuit of murder suspect Markeith Loyd.

"Today is a solemn day for the Orange County Sheriff's Office and for the community," said OCSO Sheriff Jerry Demings. "This is the second day we have had to memorialize a law enforcement officer in the line of duty. Our beloved Norm Lewis joins the ranks of over 19,000 law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. As Sheriff, I wish I had 1,500 deputies just like him. At 35-years-old he made a difference in this world."15895831_1215301095215544_318223175224811011_o

Demings posthumously awarded Lewis with an OCSO purple heart for injuries sustained during his efforts to catch a murder suspect.

An emotional Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs struggled to get through the reading of a proclamation naming today "Deputy First Class Norman Lewis Day".

"This has been a horrible week," she said. "We have lost two of our finest. I want each and every one of you (law enforcement officers) to know that freedom isn't free but safety isn't free either. Without your service, we would not be safe. So to those of you who do this day in and day out - God bless you."



Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Sheriff's Office


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