Three daughters of a 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier were honored with the American Legion National Youth Hero award April 2. The award recognizes the heroic actions Laila, Lauren and Leah Norris took to save their mother’s life during a medical emergency. Above left: The Norris family poses for a picture after the awards presentation. Top row from left are Laila, Shanna, Leon, and Lauren; bottom row from left are London and Leah. Above right: Amy McEathron, from the American Legion Auxiliary’s Department of New York, stands with awards and medals that would be presented to the Norris sisters. (Photos by Capt. Veronica Bryant Bean, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office)
Daughters of 10th Mountain Division Soldier recognized with National Youth Hero awards
Capt. Veronica Bryant Bean
10th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Officer
CARTHAGE, N.Y. (April 7, 2021) – Three daughters of a 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier were honored with the American Legion National Youth Hero award April 2 at the Bassett-Baxter American Legion Post 789.
The award recognizes the heroic actions Laila, Lauren and Leah Norris took to save their mother’s life when she suffered a miscarriage in 2019.
“We were just getting up for a regular school morning, and then that’s when we checked on Mom to see if she was OK and that’s when we saw her in the bathroom,” Laila recalled. “I was, like, ‘What’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Laila, Lauren, I need you guys to find me some towels and go downstairs.’ Then she asked us to call the police and call an ambulance.”
While Shanna Norris was reluctant to involve her young daughters, she soon realized it was the only option. At the time, the girls’ father, Staff Sgt. Leon Norris, was deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade.
The girls said they were afraid, but they knew they had to stay calm.
“I was really confused and scared at the time,” said an emotional Lauren. “So I was just like, ‘I have three sisters and I have a mom who is in trouble, so I need to put my fears aside and help them.’”
The girls sprang into action. Laila brought up the towels and helped her mom; Lauren called emergency services and contacted their dad; Leah took care of their then 4-year-old sister, London.
“I’m proud of them, as a father, to know that they stood up in my place,” said Staff Sgt. Norris.
But it wasn’t just their parents who were proud of the Norris sisters.
“The heroism they (showed) to save their mom just touched my heart,” said Amy McEathron, American Legion Auxiliary’s Department of New York Leadership Chair, who submitted the girls for the award and organized the presentation of the medals.
When asked how they felt about being honored with the National Youth Hero award, the girls said it felt great to be recognized.
“It means a lot to me,” Laila said. “It’s my reward for helping (my family) the way they always helped me.”