The CFO’s fall newsletter is out, and features the Norton family’s story of loss and survival in the Joplin tornado. A scholarship fund has been established in memory of Will Norton, a member of the Joplin Class of 2011 graduating on that May day.
“He was just gone”
The Tornado’s Wrath Claimed Will Norton, But His Legacy Survives
As Mark Norton lay broken in a crowded, chaotic operating room, Dr. Rex Peterson leaned in close to tell him the morphine supply was depleted and he was going to experience more pain than he’d ever known as the surgeon prepared to re-set the bones protruding from his left leg.
But it hardly compared to the even more exquisite pain a week later when Pastor Aaron Brown had to lean in again at Mark’s hospital bedside in the pre-dawn hours to tell him his son Will’s body had been positively identified after a frantic week of friends, family, strangers and search teams looking for the popular Joplin teenager who vanished into the twister.
An aspiring director whose career was kickstarted with more than 2 million views of his prolific YouTube videos, Will Norton was headed to a prestigious film program at Chapman University near Disneyland. He’d traveled to 34 states and 15 countries, and was learning to fly. His tennis team went to state finals and he went to leadership programs like Boy’s State; he was just at one in Washington, D.C., when Bin Laden was killed and he joined the throngs outside of the White House.
“He was always just a great kid to be around. He made good choices, he never gave us a moment’s worry,” Mark says. “He was a good student. He volunteered his time. He made friends easily because he was real considerate.”