Norman Pulliam honored for work with SC School for the Deaf and the Blind

Norman Pulliam Sr. surrounded by family accepted the Norman F. Pulliam Sr. Humanitarian Award from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind on Monday evening at the Piedmont Club.

Norman Pulliam honored for work with SC School for the Deaf and the Blind

By Zach Fox
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 10:25 AM

With an award named in his honor, Spartanburg businessman Norman Pulliam’s contributions to the S.C. School Deaf and the Blind were recognized Monday night.

Pulliam, 72, was the first recipient of the Norman F. Pulliam Humanitarian Award from the school and its fundraising arm, The Walker Foundation. The award will continue to be given to those who show intense commitment to the school and its growth in the future.

“I was always fascinated with the place,” Pulliam said. “To watch people who couldn’t see or couldn’t hear play ball was amazing to me. To see the passion the teachers and staff have for them, it’s amazing. I’ve seen it get more and more professional. The school has had great leadership. The teachers and staff out there are second to none.”

A crowd of more than 200 came together to recognize Pulliam’s 30-year relationship with the school.

Pulliam was appointed by then Gov. Richard Riley to serve on the school’s board of commissioners. Pulliam spent 13 of his 20 years on the board as chairman.

He then joined The Walker Foundation to continue working with SCSDB students.

“We truly appreciate Mr. Pulliam and all he has done for SCSDB, and all he continues to do,” said SCSDB President Page McCraw.

During Pulliam’s time as chairman, the school received numerous academic and service awards, facilities were improved with renovations of academic, athletic and arts facilities, along with the opening of new dorms, a library and playgrounds.

Pulliam and Sheila Breitwesier, former president of the school, led the effort to fund the renovation of Walker Hall, the school’s signature building.

“The kids are the love of my life. They don’t realize they have handicaps,” Pulliam said. “You can’t go there without falling in love with the place.”

In 2006, a scholarship fund was established in Pulliam’s honor. Since then, the scholarship has helped graduates with post-secondary and college expenses.

Elizabeth Berg, recipient of the Pulliam Scholarship in 2014, said the money helped her transition into her time at Spartanburg Community College by buying a computer and special glasses.

“The scholarship allowed me to prepare for my freshman year of college,” she said.

In addition to his time with SCSDB, Pulliam has been on the board of many community organizations like the Spartanburg Regional Foundation, the Spartanburg Boys and Girls Homes and the Spartanburg Arts Council.

Monday night’s event recognized what Pulliam said he may be the most proud of, his time with the School for the Deaf and the Blind.

He was recognized by Upstate legislators, business and education figures, and the students he has worked with for three decades.

The students, Pulliam said, were the real reason the crowd was there.

“I got a whole lot more out of it, personally, than they got from me,” he said. “That’s from the bottom of my heart.”

Follow Zach Fox on Twitter @ZachFoxSHJ

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Norman Pulliam honored for work with SC School for the Deaf and the Blind

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