NewsLocal News


Utah missionary injured in Brussels terror attack discusses recovery on 2-year anniversary of bombing

Posted at 9:26 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 23:26:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two years ago on March 22, the world was waking up to the news of the deadly Brussels bombings, which killed dozens and injured hundreds.

"The greatest thing I remember is that I was saved, that I had a feeling of peace and I knew I'd be OK," said Richard Norby, who survived the Brussels terror attacks.

Among those wounded were three LDS missionaries from Utah. On this anniversary they are celebrating their lives and sharing the story of how this tragedy strengthened them.

"I can recall the explosion of the bomb immediately," Norby said."The scramble of people, the noise, the clatter."

Chaos through the dust as three LDS missionaries from Utah were among the hundreds covered in blood at the Brussels Airport.

"I can vividly recall to the time the first explosion went off until they had me on the surgery table," Norby said.

Throughout all Richard Norby endured at that Belgian airport two years ago: "The thing I remember most is it's a place I was saved. The airport is a sacred place to us."

Looking back on the months spent broken, burned and bruised, Norby says it's a tragedy that has strengthened his faith even through the dark times.

"Sometimes you wonder when you get up if this is how the rest of your life is going to be, and we've come to grips with that," Norby said.

As he's healing from his last open wound, he celebrates this day with his family, sharing a slice of pizza with his grand kids.

"Knowing that I could actually get up, it was a happy day; most days are very happy," Norby said.

Among the Norby Family on this anniversary was Chad Wells. His son, Mason, was one of the two missionaries with Norby that day.

"You instantly become connected to them, and it's a connection that lasts forever when you go through something like that," Chad said.

Mason Wells is now in the Naval Academy, and Joseph Empy, the third injured missionary from Utah, is married and spent the anniversary in Brussels at a ceremony for the victims of the terror attacks.

"This is an event we'll never forget," Norby said. "It has changed our life but it has changed it for good."

Now, two years later, Norby shares a powerful message.

"There are times where we might be helpless, but we can't be hopeless," he said.

Norby plans to go back to visit Brussels this year to visit the airport, thank the hospital staff and see friends. And he says, of course, to have a Belgian Waffle.