Brothers Paul and JP Norden are only a few years apart in age, and “very close.” They go to parties and weddings together, and on Monday stood side by side near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Both were hit by the explosion that ripped through the crowd of spectators, and both have lost part of their right leg as a result of the blast.
The brothers, being treated in separate hospitals, went into surgery late last night, said a close relative on Tuesday. The younger of the two, Paul, 31, lost his right leg from the knee down. “He’s conscious,” the relative said, and talking to his father.
JP is not. “He lost part of his right leg, but it was the lower part,” the relative said. “He had to go back into surgery today because he had more shrapnel in his left leg.” The 33-year-old hasn’t yet woken.
“Both of them have substantial burns from the blast. Upper face, legs, on their heads,” the relative said. Paul’s right arm is damaged, “but he still has it, he still has it.”
Paul’s girlfriend, who was standing next to the men, was also burned in the explosion. His mother, Liz Norden, told ABC news that the boys blocked the young woman from the brunt of the blast. Given Paul’s 6’2”, “enormous” frame, that wasn’t a surprise to family members.
Paul and JP had gone to Boston to watch their friend, Mike Jefferson, complete his dream and run a marathon.
The brothers are “very close,” the relative said. The boys grew up fishing alongside their father, an avid fisherman.
“They both loved fishing. They would always go up to New Hampshire in Lake Winnipesaukee; they would go ice fishing.”
Though they live in separate towns—Paul lives in Wakefield, Mass. and JP lives in Stoneham, Mass.—both had until recently worked as roofers, when both were laid off.
“Obviously they’re never going to be roofers again,” the relative said. “They’ve got a long road ahead of them. They’re going to need a lot of help from all of us.”
The family’s tough, Irish roots will help, he added. “We have to keep together and be strong.”