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Veteran gives forward to fellow veteran

“Simply put, Norm is one of my heroes.”

Kevin “Judge” Weppner served on active duty with the United States Air Force from 1994-2004. During his service, he was stationed three times with Colonel Norm Pederson, a fellow USAF veteran.

Kevin first met Norm at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in Suffolk, UK. Right away, Kevin admired Norm: “I’ve wanted to be like him ever since meeting him at RAF Lakenheath in 1996.”

norm2Kevin and Norm flew F-15 Eagles together at Lakenheath and Elmendorf Air Force Base. Norm modeled everything Kevin thought a fighter pilot should be. He was “knowledgeable, aggressive, extremely disciplined, powerfully intelligent, absolutely full of integrity, a natural and superior leader, and a great friend.”

Norm’s skills led him to a celebrated career as a fighter pilot. In the following years, he flew 80 missions over Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, received the distinguished Air Medal, worked at the Pentagon, and flew precision formations with the Thunderbirds.

Tragically, as Norm settled into retirement in September 2014, he suffered a life-changing brain aneurysm. Since then, he’s survived a series of infections and cross-country relocations for treatments. Today, Norm uses a wheelchair and is in the care of his elderly parents.

When Kevin learned of his longtime friend and colleague’s challenges, he decided to take action. Kevin started a GiveForward Page to raise money for Norm’s out-of-pocket costs and living expenses.

Kevin called on all of Norm’s “wingmen” to offer support to their hero as he adapts to life after an aneurysm. To date, nearly 400 people have raised over $43,000 for Norm and his family. When asked why he started a page, Kevin said “Simply put, Norm is one of my heroes.”

For Veterans Day, we reflect on the sacrifices that heroes like Norm and Kevin have made for our freedom. To show your gratitude, you can make a direct impact in supporting a veteran like Norm who’s facing a challenge.

Find and veteran and donate today.

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