SANDY — In the news almost every day are stories about celebrities; some stories are good, some not so good.
But one of those great celebrity stories happened here in Utah recently, when actor Chuck Norris surprised 33-year-year old Mark Parry in his Sandy home.
Parry hasn’t been feeling well lately. He spends much of his time resting on his living room couch. So, his former boss arranged the surprise visit to help boost his spirits.
“Parry saw (Chuck) and got right up and hugged him,” said Parry’s mother, Judy Parry. “(Parry) said, ‘Sit down right here beside me!’”
“Hi, Buddy!” Norris said as he sat next to Mark on the sofa. The 77-year-old actor looked genuinely happy meeting his new friend.
When asked what she thought when she opened the door and saw Norris and his wife, Gena Norris, standing on her front porch, Judy Parry said she couldn’t believe it. “There are good people everywhere,” she said, “who are just trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”
During their visit, Norris told Parry, “I was looking forward to meeting you; I was looking forward to getting here.”
Parry began idolizing the martial arts TV star 13 years ago when he saw Norris play his famous character on the TV show “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
“(My) best friend was Chuck Norris,” Parry said.
Parry was born in September of 1983 with Down syndrome, the youngest of the Judy Parry’s 10 children. Like all of his siblings, Parry went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2006, serving in the cafeteria at the Salt Lake Temple. They loved him so much he was asked to stay on — which he did — until two months ago when he was diagnosed with stage 4 gastrointestinal cancer.
“Medications just keep getting more frequent and stronger,” Judy said. “But we just want him to be comfortable.”
Norris’ visit was the perfect medicine. He and Gena came to Utah to shoot a commercial. But first, they drove straight from the airport to see Parry.
“I thought, ‘He’ll be here a couple of minutes wishing Parry well,’ and they stayed for a half hour,” Judy said. During their stay, Chuck gave Parry an official Texas Ranger badge, a book and signed his two-dozen “Walker, Texas Ranger” DVDs.
Parry, a former special Olympian, also showed off the Total Gym in his basement, something his parents bought when Norris endorsed the product many years ago. Norris also got on the gym and showed he’s still in fighting shape.
“I don’t think Mark has ever thought anything other than that Chuck Norris was a hero because the good guy always wins in his TV show,” Judy said.
Parry’s real-life hero, his father, Rick, passed away two years ago, so meeting Norris was something the Parry family was very grateful for.
“He’s the best man,” Parry said. “I love him a lot!”
“He was not here for publicity,” Judy said. “And he came in and was just trying to fulfill some guy’s dream."
A dream that was fulfilled thanks to one of the good guys. Before leaving, Norris gave Parry a hug and told one of his biggest fans, “Now you’re a fellow Texas Ranger with me!”
Besides his acting career, Norris has also written several Christian-themed books and established the Kick Start Foundation, which helps at-risk children stay away from drugs by training them in martial arts.