Berlin Award Returns; Nornie Bunting Honored As 2023 Recipient

Berlin Award Returns; Nornie Bunting Honored As 2023 Recipient
Nornie Bunting received the 2023 Berlin Award Thursday. Bunting, center, is pictured with, from left, Councilman Jay Knerr, Councilman Steve Green, Berlin Chamber President Mike Poole, Mayor Zack Tyndall and Councilman Jack Orris. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN– A lifelong Berlin resident known for his devotion to the Berlin Little League and dedication to preserving the town’s historic architecture is this year’s recipient of the Berlin Award.

Town officials honored Norman “Nornie” Bunting with the Berlin Award Thursday night at the Berlin Chamber of Commerce Annual Installation and Awards Dinner. Bunting, whose win was acknowledged with a standing ovation from the crowd, thanked everyone for the honor.

“I love my town,” he said. “Go Berlin go Berlin go.”

After a brief hiatus, the tradition of the Berlin Award returned to town to highlight this year’s chamber dinner. Melissa Reid, president of the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum and longtime art teacher at Buckingham Elementary School, spoke about the award’s origins.

“The Berlin Award is presented annually to an individual who has, by unselfish effort and dedication, made outstanding contributions of community service in the Town of Berlin and immediately surrounding region,” she said.

While no award was presented between the years of 2017 and 2022, prior to that it had been presented every year since 1964. When the award was first established, it was presented by the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and endorsed by the town. It was later sponsored by the Berlin Lions Club and then the Humphreys Foundation. Joel Todd, the 2010 recipient, told the crowd Thursday night sponsorship has once again returned to the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. Barbara Purnell, the 2016 award winner, said Bunting had been selected as the 2023 recipient for his nearly two decades of serving the Berlin Little League as well as his several years of work on the Berlin Historic District Commission.

Bunting, who didn’t find out he was getting the award until he arrived at Berlin Fire Company headquarters, where this year’s dinner was held, said he was simply supporting the town the way it had always supported him.

“I knew it was time for me to put back into our town what I’d taken out of it for so long,” he said.

In 18 years as president of Berlin Little League, Bunting said the program had won 19 state championships. He’s hoping the program will serve as the foundation local kids need to become professional players.

“We’ve got kids from Berlin now that are close to being in the show,” he said. “That’s our goal.”

He added that while his role on the Berlin Historic District Commission was a newer one for him, he was no less devoted to it.

“I might not be the best historian but I can tell you what I do have is a photographic memory,” he said. “When I rode up and down these streets when I was 8, 9, 10 years old on my bicycle, I remember what everything looked like then and I want it to continue to look like that now and in the future.”

Previous Berlin Award recipients include Frederick Brueckmann, 1964; Jane Q. Parker Gantz, 1965; Willis W. Hudson, 1966; Paul Scott, 1968; Audrey Pennington, 1969; Horace E. Quillin, 1970; Oscar Littleton, 1971; Anna A. Burbage, 1972; William S. Hudson, 1973; James G. Barrett, 1974; Elton W. Parsons, 1975; William Briddell, 1976; Mable S. Holland, 1977; Rev. E.C. Hackshaw, 1978; Charles T. Martin, 1979; Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Abernethy, 1980; Edgar Gaskins, 1981; no award, 1982; Wilford and Rhoda Showell, 1983; Laurence Eastburn, 1984; Edward H. Hammond, 1985; Luther Shultz, 1986; Frank Timmons, 1987; Gee Williams, III, 1988; Stuart J. Scott, 1989; Mary E. Humphreys, 1990; Barbara Derrickson, 1991; Doris Taylor, 1992; Mildred Ann Villani, 1993; Denman E. Rayne, 1994; Raymond D. Coates, 1995; Patrick L. Henry, 1996; John T. Bruehl, 1997; Frank Villani, 1998; Bennett Scott, 1999; Leola A. Smack, 2000; Ellen H. Lang, 2001; RoxAnne D. Williams, 2002; Tom & Judy Patton, 2003; Jesse Turner, 2004; Clayton P. Collins, Jr., 2005; Deborah S. Frene, 2006; William Burke, 2007; Tim and Christine Rayne, 2008; Susan Taylor, 2009; Joel J. Todd, 2010; Terri Sexton, 2011; Jan Quick, 2012; Doug Parks, 2014; Mike and Helen Wiley, 2014; Woody and Cam Bunting, 2015; Barbara Purnell, 2016; and no award, 2017-2022.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.