Martial-arts champion and movie and television star Chuck Norris’ image as a tough guy may never reach its zenith.
After all, he’s already been portrayed as doing the splits between the wingtips of flying jets.
And the “Chuck Norris facts” – such as that the bogeyman has to check his closet and underneath his bed for Chuck Norris before he can sleep – circle the globe.
But inside, he’s a softie when children are involved.
Case in point: His effort to reach out to a sick 4-year-old in Florida suffering from a rare bone disease.
The story is from WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida, where Jenna Stewart is battling a bone disease in her leg.
“When we first met Jenna, she told us she’s found comfort from watching Chuck Norris cartoons and that there would be no greater gift for Christmas than to meet her ‘superhero,'” the station’s Samantha Read reported.
The mother, Hope, and father, Adam, know celebrities get all kinds of requests.
So a response was not really expected.
“Last night my phone beeped, and I had a video message on my phone from Chuck Norris,” Hope told the station. “He was saying he had seen the earlier story that you all had did on Jenna.”
Jenna’s dad then brought up the video message.
“Hi Jenna, I saw you on television, and I want to thank you for allowing me to be your hero,” Norris said.
“But I got to tell you a secret. After watching you on television and seeing the battle you are facing, you are my hero.”
“I think we both cried,” Hope told the station. “It was emotional. We were very surprised and just thrilled.”
It got better.
Norris, star of “Walker, Texas Ranger” and a hero in martial arts films, told Jenna, “I’ve got to meet you.”
“I get to meet Chuck Norris!” Jenna screamed, the station said.
He’s been out of the country and couldn’t arrange an immediate trip but promised something will happen when he returns in February.
“In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you. Your friend, Chuck Norris,” he said.
See the station’s report:
WND has reported Norris’ image has gone where few have gone before.
At Christmas a couple of years ago, a new video was released that topped the epic stunt of muscle man Jean-Claude Van Damme, the Belgian-born actor who was filmed doing the splits between two moving trucks.
Norris, whose list of movies continues to expand with his appearance in “Expendables 2,” took the stunt to a whole new level.
In a video posted online by Delov Digital, a Hungarian animation company, Norris does the splits between the wings of two jets.
Holding a human Christmas tree of nearly a dozen airborne comrades on his cowboy hat.
See Van Damme’s stunt:
Delov, in an effort to wish “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” offered his own rendition:
Actually, Norris has played down the idea that he’s a superhero.
“I’ve got a bulletin for you, folks. I am no superman,” he said. “I realize that now, but I didn’t always. As six-time world karate champion and then a movie star, I put too much trust in who I was, what I could do and what I acquired. I forgot how much I needed others and especially God. Whether we are famous or not, we all need God. We also need other people.”
He regularly makes video appearances for causes he values. One last year was on behalf of registering gun owners to vote.
He urged citizens to vote because of a political agenda that threatens to strip Americans of their right to bear arms.
He has reached a new generation due to the Internet craze for one-liners usually labeled as “facts.”
In “The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book,” Norris gives readers not only his favorite “facts,” roundhouse-kicked by the man himself, but also the stories behind the facts and the code by which he lives his life.
In his bestselling book “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America,” Norris provides real solutions for solving the nation’s problems.
As history shows, millions of Americans follow when Chuck Norris leads.
In 2008, Zeta Interactive confirmed that when Norris endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee in a WND column, it sparked a spike of 66 percent in Internet posts on Huckabee.
When Norris wrote of his endorsement of Huckabee, the former governor was holding support from about 8 percent of voters, according to Rasmussen Reports, which is considered one of the most accurate tracking polls available.
Within a couple days, the time it took for the Norris column to make the rounds of the blogs and media sites, Huckabee’s support rose to 10 percent, his first time ever in double digits, and within another day it was at 12 percent.
Huckabee’s campaign also reported a surge in campaign contributions of about $550,000 in just days after the Norris endorsement.
Norris’ career began not in movies, television or in the world of Internet trivia. The man who has employed martial arts in so many of his pictures first came to the world’s attention as a real-life martial arts star. He was a six-time undefeated World Professional MiddleWeight Karate Champion. He was also a renowned teacher in the martial arts, with celebrity students including Steve McQueen, Bob Barker, Priscilla Presley, and Donnie and Marie Osmond.
He has gone on to found the United Fighting Arts Federation with more than 2,300 black belts all over the world. In 1997, Norris achieved another milestone in his life by being the first man ever in the Western Hemisphere to be awarded an eighth-degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do system. This was a first in 4,500 years of tradition.
The Norrises say that next to their family, their greatest mission in life is their KICKSTART KIDS Foundation. In 1992, with the help of President George H.W. Bush, the program was launched in four public middle schools in Houston. For over 20 years, KICKSTART KIDS has developed and delivered an in-school physical education program based on martial arts that teaches responsibility and character development, while building self-esteem and engaging kids in a school-based activity. The program is dedicated to giving middle school students the tools and support necessary to resolve conflicts, avoid participating in gangs, choose a drug-free lifestyle, resist negative peer pressure, remain in school until they graduate, achieve a higher level of academic success and ultimately become productive members of our communities. Today KSK serves more than 8,500 children daily and has graduated approximately 85,000 students, with many going on to college.
WND reported in 2015 when he was honored at the National Religious Broadcasters convention, where he spoke of his faith.
As a celebrity, for a time he believed in himself, he said. But there remained a “huge hole in my heart.”
“I didn’t know why,” he said.
He recalled thinking just one more movie, one more project would make him happy.
As he worked, he noticed Gena, his wife, reading her Bible every morning, and eventually she started reading aloud to him. Then he started reading it himself.
During that time, he said God spoke to him.
“‘Chuck, it’s time to come home,'” he recalled God telling him. “‘You’ve been gone long enough.'”
He did, and now Norris says, “My heart, it’s filled up again.”
See the interview: