NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – He’s beloved by the community he serves in North Little Rock, known worldwide for his community policing efforts and has more followers on Instagram than some celebrities.
Officer Tommy Norman shows love and kindness wherever he goes, but now the world is wrapping its arms around him as he grieves the loss of his daughter, Alyssa.
“It’s been something I would think I’d only ever dream of, that it would never happen in real life,” Norman said.
On November 17, Alyssa Norman passed away suddenly. She was 26 years old.
“Nobody saw this coming and that’s what I think makes it even more devastating,” he explained.
On the outside, Alyssa was a doting mom, a budding realtor and a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl.
“She was an amazing woman and even more an amazing daughter,” Norman recalled.
The veteran officer noted that she would always put others first, sometimes at the cost of herself.
“In a sense, I think Alyssa didn’t focus enough on herself because she wanted to make sure she was that mom and she was that daughter and she was that sister,” Norman said. “If Alyssa struggled you would never know it because Alyssa wanted to make sure other people were happy.”
However, she did struggle for many years. Like so many, Alyssa battled a drug addiction. In the last few months of her life though, Norman said she got clean, gave her life to the Lord and gave their relationship a second chance.
“Alyssa and I, we reconnected back in June, and I really feel like that’s a testament of she had her daddy back it really, really helped her out,” he explained.
That feeling of reconnection is why the phone call that November night was something he never expected.
“I received the information that Alyssa had overdosed, so my next question is ‘Okay, what hospital is she in? Where I could rush to see her?’” Norman remembered. “Then the response was ‘She’s not in a hospital. She didn’t make it.’ It’s absolutely horrific. It really is.”
In a heartbreaking post, Norman shared the news about Alyssa with his followers. They, in turn, opened their hearts in a show of solace and support.
“Phone calls, emails, people have been so kind,” he said. “People, they want to be here for me and my family, and that’s something that has really helped us out.”
His fans around the world shared in his pain, many opening up about how Alyssa’s story has changed their lives.
“I’ve had people reach out to me who have decided to get help because of Alyssa,” Norman said. “I’ve had people reach out to me who have decided not to use drugs again because of Alyssa.”
The hashtag #DoitforAlyssa has gone viral. Norman said people from nearly 50 states and several countries have been sharing videos and pictures with Alyssa’s favorite color.
“From purple shakes to purple glazed donuts to purple fingernails to purple hairdos,” he said. “In a sense, Alyssa Norman has brought the world together. Alyssa has brought us together in a big purple way and it gives me chills talking about it.”
Norman said it’s not just a color, but a message of hope.
“We will fight every day as a community and as a world to fight addiction to be there for people who have addictions and not to give up on them,” he promised. “To love on them and to tell them that they are going to be okay.”
Officer Tommy Norman, a community hero with a heavy heart and a dad on a mission to save lives.
“That’s all I know to do is to use her story to change people’s lives.”