Family: Former LDS Missionary Richard Norby Healing Slowly After Belgium Terrorist Attack

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Richard Norby and wife Pam posed for this photo while they were serving their France-Paris mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: © 2016 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 19, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — On Monday, former LDS missionary Richard Norby underwent surgery to remove necrotic tissue on his lower extremities, and later celebrated by enjoying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ice cream, a banana and some chocolate milk.

Eating so much solid food after more than a month on a feeding tube was a milestone for Lehi resident Norby, 66, who was the most seriously injured of four missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were caught in the March 22 suicide bombing at the Brussels Airport.

“Those are milestones we celebrate,” said Pam Norby, Richard’s wife and former mission partner, who was not at the airport that day. Both were released from their missionary callings on Sunday.

“It’s not each day we celebrate,” Pam Norby said. “Sometimes it’s moment by moment.”

Elder Mason Wells, 19, Elder Joseph Dresden Empey, 20, and Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, 20 also were hurt in the terrorist attack, and are in various states of recovery.

Pam and eldest son Jason Norby spoke Tuesday at a news conferences at the University of Utah Hospital Burn Center, and were joined by Dr. Steve Morris, one of the medical professionals treating Richard Norby.

“He has a long way to go,” Morris said of Norby, who arrived in Utah by medical jet on Saturday. “We just recently took him back to operating room for find adjustments in wound care…. He will be in the hospital for a number of weeks (practicing) eating and dressing, and getting his wounds taken care of…. He wanted me to let you know he is so grateful, and has made a lot of progress, despite having so much more to do, he is optimistic and positive about it.”

Morris said Norby sustained burns over 35 percent of his body, including his face, trunk, upper extremities, back and lower extremities. He also was hit by a lot of shrapnel.

Norby’s upper half is healing faster than his lower extremities, Morris said, and the recent surgery was to remove some tissue that was no longer vital.

Jason Norby said his father is able to talk and even joke, although his sedating medication seems to impair his communication to a degree.

“He wished us luck before we came down, and said he was glad it was us coming down, not him,” Jason Norby said, smiling.

Morris said Richard Norby will have to relearn many of the skills that were basic before.

“He has a plan to get better, and he’s made a lot of progress since Saturday,” Morris said. “Everything we take for granted he couldn’t do, and he’s getting those things back one at a time.”

“Most recovery comes from things like this up here (Morris touched his forehead) and here (he touched his left chest, over his heart). And he’s got a lot here (he touched his left chest) and here (he touched his head). He’s an amazing young man.”

Richard Norby and wife Pam posed for this photo while they were serving their France-Paris mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: © 2016 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Richard Norby and wife Pam posed for this photo while they were serving their France-Paris mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: © 2016 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

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