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NBC’s Curry films segment in Fieldale
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A camera crew prepares to film NBC anchor Ann Curry (right) for the lead-in to a segment called “A Face in the Crowd” about former Fieldale resident Richard Norris on Monday in Fieldale. The segment is scheduled to air on “Ann Curry Reports” on Friday on local NBC affiliates. (Contributed photo)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Ann Curry, a former co-anchor on the “Today Show” and managing editor and anchor of “Ann Curry Reports,” was in Fieldale Monday filming the lead-in segment of “A Face in the Crowd.”

The show, about former Fieldale resident Richard Norris who underwent a face transplant, will air at 10 p.m. Friday on local NBC affiliate TV stations, according to online reports.

Teresa Davis, of Fieldale Insurance, said a production crew “set up on the lot outside our office” on Monday. Initially, the producer told residents they were “doing some shots” of Fieldale for the story on Norris.

The crew began setting up around 2 p.m. Monday, Davis said. “You would not believe the crew. ... They had all of this elaborate equipment.”

As the day wore on and the crew remained, Davis said residents began questioning whether the crew was there just for a photo shoot.

Davis said she finally got close enough to talk to the producer, and she asked him whether the crew was just there to film or if Curry was expected.

The producer said that Curry was scheduled to be there, “but we are trying to keep it hush-hush,” Davis said she was told.

Around 6 p.m., Curry arrived in Fieldale in a chauffeur-driven vehicle, Davis said.

“It was really cute,” Davis said. Curry “got out of the car ... and had curlers in her hair.”

Curry remained in town until about 7:45 p.m., Davis said. While in Fieldale, Curry “was doing her spiel, her lead-in, to the story” about Norris, Davis added.

Norris’ and his family’s ordeal began on Sept. 10, 1997, when he saw a 12-gauge shotgun leaning on the glass door of a gun cabinet in the home on Chestnut Street where he lived at the time.

The police report stated that Norris “unlocked the cabinet to get the gun off the glass door, and when he pulled it out, the gun discharged.” The gunshot struck Norris in the face.

He was taken to Memorial Hospital in Martinsville and then transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

His father, Frank Norris, said in March, 2012 that medical personnel there “did all they could for him.” The same was true for medical teams at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and Richard Norris spent the next 15 years wearing a mask to cover his face and shopping at night.

Richard Norris then went to Baltimore’s Shock Trauma Center and met Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez.

“After years of research and meticulous preparation, Norris was ready for surgery. All he needed was a matching donor. In March 2012, a young man who had just joined the Marines was struck by a van and taken to Shock Trauma — the same hospital where Norris was being treated — where doctors determined he would not survive his brain injuries. As it turned out the young Marine was an exact match for Norris and once the young man’s parents heard about Norris’ story, they made the difficult decision to donate their son’s face to him,” the release stated.

Norris then had a “groundbreaking face transplant surgery” there that was paid for by the Department of Defense, which was funding research to treat severe injuries in troops returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a release from NBC News.

Norris, now 38, “underwent the most comprehensive and successful face transplant surgery in history. It far surpassed expectations and he now has a second chance at a normal life,” the release stated.


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