Bio for Chaplain Norris Burkes, Lt.Col, USAF, ret.
Chaplain Norris Burkes’ military career began in 1987. It included both the active-duty Air Force and the Air National Guard until his retirement in 2014. His assignments included Cape Canaveral Air Station, Izmir Air Station Turkey, and Moffett Field. He served as a combat hospital chaplain in Balad, Iraq with additional deployments to Saudi Arabia and Panama.
Concurrent to his Reserve service, he served as a board-certified healthcare chaplain at Sutter Memorial, Kaiser, Methodist and Mather VA hospital. He entered official retired life on July 1, 2017, but continued in part-time work with Hospice of the Foothills in Grass Valley CA for five more years before retiring again.
He is currently the part time pastor of Community Church, an American Baptist parish in Nevada City California.
Highlighting his chaplain work, Burkes writes a spirituality column that offers a humorous and hope-filled approach to everyday spirituality and is syndicated in 35 papers nationwide. He recently published a book retelling the best of his newspaper columns called “Thriving Beyond Surviving.”
He graduated from Baylor University, Waco, TX with a Bachelor of Arts in religion and journalism. He has a Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Seminary in Mill Valley CA and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Portland OR. He is close to completing — but will likely never finish — the Master’s of Journalism program at University of Nevada, Reno.
Chaplain Norris has a tattoo on his left shoulder to recall running two marathons of 26 miles, completing the 2013 Air Force marathon in a little over 5 hours. He still thinks he can play golf, but says he is not yet to be trusted with keeping accurate score.
He is the author of “Hero’s Highway” about his experience as a chaplain in a combat hospital. He is also the author of “No Small Miracles,” the father of four grown miracles and living proof that 40 years of a happy marriage is still God’s greatest miracle.