Tom Hughes (18) said his childhood idolisation of the American martial-artist and actor had, in a roundabout way, led to the mayor of the city of Navasota – population 7,000 – forever declaring the 28 October as ‘Tom Martin Hughes Day’.
Mr Hughes explained his shock the moment he realised Bert Miller, mayor of Navasota, was in fact reading out a proclamation declaring that he now had his own name day.
The young ambassador – who was previously named Champion Volunteer in the 2017 Diana Awards for his work with the St John Ambulance cadets – came to receive this honour as a result of writing a fan letter to his lifelong hero.
He explained: ‘Ever since I was small, I have idolised Chuck Norris, to the point where his own charitable work inspired me to become a volunteer. A few years ago I wrote a fan letter to him. To my surprise, he wrote an encouraging letter back.’
Not long after he first made contact with the actor, Mr Hughes was put in touch with the mayor of Navasota, who asked whether he would come and speak with young people in Navasota to promote active citizenship. The Islander duly obliged.
‘I came over to the city to give a talk to young people here,’ said Mr Hughes, who was speaking from Texas. ‘The mayor said he struggled to encourage young people to get involved in volunteer work.
‘During my stay I was given a tour of the city and then on Monday I was asked if I would like to attend their city council meeting. It was at that meeting that suddenly the mayor read out a proclamation declaring that the 28 October was now Tom Martin Hughes Day.’
Asked what he thought would happen on that day, he said that it could be a good opportunity to get youngsters involved in volunteering and that he would be happy to come back next year to get involved.
Speaking about his relationship with Mr Norris, the teenager explained he had got to meet him at a United Fighting Arts Federation event in Las Vegas in the summer. He added that that he might even be going to Mr Norris’s 80th birthday next year.
‘My friends and family have been so blown away by everything that’s happened, it’s all very surreal, one of my friends joked that I should aim to get a street named after me next.’
Next on the list for Mr Hughes is a three-month scholarship working for Gucci in Milan next year to work on their charitable projects.
Carlos Ray ‘Chuck’ Norris is an American martial artist and former US Air Force serviceman-turned Hollywood actor
He held the title role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001 and starred in films such as Way of the Dragon alongside Bruce Lee
He is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and Judo
The actor’s famed toughness has inspired an internet phenomenon of satirical factoids about him. For example: ‘When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris’