Moscow Arby's reopens for first time after deadly shooting - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Moscow Arby's reopens for first time after deadly shooting

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Arby's coworkers embrace on day of emotional reopening. 3 of them spoke at Belinda Niebuhr's funeral. Arby's coworkers embrace on day of emotional reopening. 3 of them spoke at Belinda Niebuhr's funeral.
MOSCOW, Idaho -

Amid tears and emotion, Moscow's Arby's employees went back to work Monday as the restaurant reopened two weeks after its manager, Belinda Niebuhr, was shot and killed behind the counter.

"We're finding out it's going to be much harder than we all expected," Pat Rogers said. Rogers is the Vice President of Happy Day, the company that owns the franchise.

Rogers, along with the restaurant's management, organized a remodeling of the restaurant after the tragedy, including new paint and lighting.

They also hung a photo of Belinda on the wall, along with her apron, now framed.

"We just lost a big part of this family," Rogers said. "We lost the mom."

The Arby's employees have gathered each day since the tragedy to mourn together, but this morning was the first time they were all back in uniform. Hugs welcomed each employee that walked through the doors, and number of tears were shed as workers laid eyes on the photos of Belinda around the restaurant.

"I'm used to coming in in the morning, and then she always busted through the door with an inappropriate comment or a laugh," Carlene Carney said. "And today that didn't happen."

Carney says Belinda was her best friend. In the coming months she'll wear Belinda's old name tag, rather than her own, to honor the late mother and hard worker.

"We're moving on a little bit, and trying to stay strong," Carney said. "I know she'd want me to get back to work.

The recovery process will be long, but perhaps it will be helped by the Moscow community, which brought gifts throughout the day to honor Belinda.

Patrick Reed wanted to show he cared when he pulled past the drive-thru, so he gave the cashier a handful of cash to surprise the next few cars.

"I just wanted to support Moscow and the people that work there now," Patrick Reed said.

Cindy Ziegler was next in line, and wept when she found out her meal was paid for.

"Moscow is going to heal," Ziegler said. "We're going to make it through this.

And that is the hope of the entire Arby's staff. But the grieving process is far from over for those, like Carlene Carney, who knew Belinda best.

"I'm not quite ready to move past this," Carney said.

"It's going to be hard to look up at this wall. But I feel like if this wall wasn't here, it would be harder to come in on a daily basis."

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