Last Mormon missionary hurt in Brussels bombing back in Utah

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2016 7:06 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The family of a 66-year-old Mormon missionary who suffered severe burns on more than a third of his body in the Brussels airport bombing said Tuesday he faces a long recovery but is happy to be back in Utah and improving slowly.

Pam Norby said they find joy in even the small milestones of her husband Richard Norby's recovery.

On Monday, after yet another surgery to deal with second- and third-degree burns and severe shrapnel injuries, Richard Norby ate a surprisingly hearty meal: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a banana, ice cream and chocolate milk.

"It doesn't get much better than that," said Pam Norby, smiling alongside their oldest son, Jason Norby, at a news conference in Salt Lake City. "We celebrate all those little landmarks that are huge for us."

Norby flew back to the U.S. on Saturday after doctors in Belgium determined he was fit for travel. He's now receiving treatment at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Richard Norby was standing with three young missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when bombs went off in the airport March 22.

He remembers what happened, but the family said he's working through those memories and declined to share what he's told them.

Richard and Pam Norby, of Lehi, Utah, were serving a Mormon mission together in Brussels. Pam Norby credits her Mormon faith for giving her the strength to handle the situation and never lose faith, even when her husband was put into a medically-induced coma for a period and suffered a setback while hospitalized in Brussels when he came down with a serious infection.

She and her son Jason Norby gushed about the outpouring of support and help from people in Belgium and the United States.

Two of the four missionaries injured in the blast have returned home while Norby and one other remain hospitalized.

Joseph "Dres" Empey, 20, has returned to his home in southern Utah, and Fanny Clain has been released from the hospital and is resting with her family in France. Clain was at the airport on her way to serve a mission in the United States.

Mason Wells, 19, is still at a Salt Lake City hospital receiving treatment for his injuries.

Dr. Stephen Morris of University of Utah Health Care said Richard Norby will remain in the hospital for many more weeks. Richard Norby will have lasting effects from the injuries but should be able to walk again, Morris said.

"He's got a lot of determination and he's got a lot of heart," Morris said.