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The Byrnes’ Gave Their Hearts

Rev. Hal NortonHal Norton – 1949 Scholar

On April 19, 1949, I received the following letter. Little did I realize as I opened it the tremendous influence that it was going to play on my life.

April 18, 1949

Mr. Hal Norton
Mullins, SC

Dear Mr. Norton:

I have recommended to the Trustee of the Byrnes Foundation that you be given a scholarship and you will hear from him within a day or two. The purpose of this letter is to tell you that I want to do more for the young people awarded scholarships than to merely contribute financially. I want to help you with your problems during your college life and you must feel free to write me at any time you think I may be of assistance. I want you to make good.

Sincerely yours,
James F. Byrnes

I had no reason to doubt him; yet I could hardly believe that a man of his stature could really care about even the little things in my life.

From the moment that we, the first thirty scholars, met Gov. and Mrs. Byrnes at their home in Spartanburg, I realized that they really did care. Even surrounded by newspaper reporters from across the US, representatives from Twentieth Century Fox Studios who were taking pictures, and prominent people at every station, I realized that we were more than a “project.” In those moments, the Byrnes gave their hearts to us, and we knew it!!

During the course of all of those years of knowing them, I never sent a card, never wrote a note, never called – any contact – that these elderly and very busy people did not respond. I am sure that this was the case with of of the Byrnes Scholars. In every way possible, Gov. and Mrs. Byrnes gave their personal support. Only a short time was required for us to learn that their financial support was the least important of all of their gifts to us.

The years that we shared with “Mom” and “Pop” Byrnes were filled with many happy moments. What a treasure book of memories they have left us! Weekends in Columbia and at the beach…luncheons…visits in their home…telephone calls…letters…all gave substance to the statement in his letter to me, and to the other Byrnes Scholars: “I want to do more for the young people awarded scholarships than to merely contribute financially.”

2017 Application Process Closed

The application process for 2017 is closed. Scholarship announcements will be posted to the website in early June. Application packets for 2018 will be available December 2017. Please check back then.

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In return for their generosity and support, Mom and Pop Byrnes asked only two things from us: become the very best people we could become in life, and make sure their legacy of family continues for those who come after us.

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© 1998-2017 Byrnes Scholars. All Rights Reserved.
The James F. Byrnes Foundation
Post Office Box 6781
Columbia, SC 29260-6781
Tel.: (803) 254-9325