Will's Story

The Will Norton Miracle Field is dedicated to the memory of William Richard Norton.

August 19, 1992 — May 22, 2011

By Will's Sister, Sara

The Will Norton Miracle Field is named after my brother Will. On May 22, 2011, as my brother was driving home from his graduation from Joplin High School, he was taken by a tornado into our Heavenly Father’s arms, but that is not what he would want to be known for. Will was one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever known, not to mention he was the most incredible brother and friend anyone could ever ask for. One thing he loved most was meeting new people and making sure they felt included and welcome. He wanted everyone to live life with a smile; I’m not sure anyone valued happiness more than him. I know he would be ecstatic about this Miracle Field being named after him. He wants everyone, no matter what situation they are in, or what battles they are facing, to fit in and have fun. I know he would be the first person in line to be a buddy at this field.

Will’s smile and laugh were truly contagious, and he always had kind words to say about everyone. It took twice as long to go anywhere with Will because he wanted to talk to everyone. He never met a stranger. Will has left a lasting legacy of YouTube videos, tweets, and contributions to those in need. Will’s YouTube channel (YouTube.com/Will) has over 2.5 million video views and over 11,000 subscribers. Will made the most out of his 18 years of life. He traveled all over the world including places like Tanzania, Africa, where he was able to see the great wildebeest migration. He said he felt right at home because his nickname is Willdabeast. He played on a state-champion tennis team, became a private pilot, traveled to Washington D.C. with his state-winning U.S. Constitution Team, attended Missouri Boys State, was a member of Joplin FBLA, and attended and served as a counselor at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. He was a member of many other groups and organizations and loved to volunteer at the Joplin Humane Society when he had free time.

Will’s lifelong dream was to attend film school, and he was accepted to Chapman University to study film production. The President of Chapman University Dr. James Doti said at Will’s memorial service at Chapman, “I have to tell you, this young man, in every way, shape, and form, was a superstar.” Will’s name can be seen on the Memorial Wall in the Fish Interfaith Center at Chapman University in Orange, California. Chapman also named a film presidential scholarship after Will- The Will Norton Presidential Scholarship.

Many people have said to live your life like Will Norton. One of Will’s favorite teachers Kristi McGowen remembered Will at his celebration of life service saying, “Celebrate your life like Will. Let everyone enjoy their moment. Be confident enough to wear a silly hat. Don’t be afraid to dance until you are dripping wet with sweat. Accept everyone the way they are, and appreciate your friends.” That is truly how Will lived. Will would be so honored to have his name associated with this wonderful field.

Related Links

If you are interested in learning more about Will, feel free to visit the following links:

Will's YouTube page

Find Will Facebook page

Sara's video about their journey through the tornado

Will's Celebration of Life Service

A Year Dedicated to Living Like Will

Joplin High School Tornado Victim Was a Shooting Star

Willdabeast, Love You Forever

Remembering Will, Part 1

Remembering Will, Part 2

Remembering Will, Part 3