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Wayne National Forest returns memorial plaque to Ohio family

Memorial plaque returned to Ohio family. Forest Service phot by Kyle Brooks.

OHIO – Three decades after the building it once graced changed hands, a plaque honoring a USDA Forest Service employee has been given to the daughters of the man it honored.

During a ceremony held on June 20, 2018 at the Wayne National Forest Headquarters, the Forest Service gifted the bronze plaque to Vicky Norman and Sandra Carnahan of Columbus, Ohio. Both are daughters of the late Edgar Hollis Norman, who was born in Nelsonville, Ohio in Athens County. He was employed by the Forest Service in the 1960’s, as a work leader at the former Vesuvius Job Corps Conservation Center, located on the Ironton Ranger District.

The plaque is believed to have been displayed at the center’s gymnasium in memory of Mr. Norman, who died on March 20, 1967. It is thought that the plaque was removed from that location after the Forest Service transferred the property to new owners in 1987.

“It’s very gratifying,” stated Vicky Norman. “I’m so proud that so many people thought so highly of my father.”

The plaque states that Mr. Norman was vitally interested in natural resources, along with our country’s welfare and the nation’s youth.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Records indicate the Job Corps workers constructed the amphitheater near the former Interpretive Center located in the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area. They also built the Big Bend Beach area, and reconstructed much of the trail system on the Ironton Ranger District.

If it had not been for the persistence of Forest Service Fire Engine Captain Camden Bumpus, the plaque may have never been found and reunited with Mr. Norman’s family.

“I found the plaque last October in one of our warehouses. It weighs about 50-pounds and measures 18 inches wide by 27 ½ inches tall,” said Bumpus. “To help locate the family, I sifted through genealogical records at libraries in Ironton, Ohio and Ashland, Kentucky. I even sought help from a detective. With something of this size and nature, we felt it was appropriate to return it to the family.”

After the ceremony, Bumpus accompanied the family members outside to the Snake Ridge Lookout Tower, which now stands adjacent to the Wayne National Forest Headquarters. Both daughters remember spending time with their father as a child in the tower. Sandra climbed the tower with Bumpus.

“Just climbing the tower brought back some wonderful memories,” she said. “All of you made a wish come true.”