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Taylor Morris, American Hero

One month ago yesterday, 23-year old Taylor Morris lost all of his limbs in the line of duty. A Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) tech from Cedar Falls, Iowa, Taylor was serving out his first tour in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. His job—surely one of the highest stress, highest risk jobs in the military—was to defuse bombs, disable mines, and to secure hazardous areas in advance of fellow troops so that they could do their job without being blown up. 

But on May 3, 2012, Taylor stepped on an IED and nearly lost his life. Speaking to a reporter at The Chive, Taylor recounts his memory of the explosion:

As soon as I stepped on it, I knew. There was a moment, then I heard the blast. I felt the heat. I knew I had lost my legs. As I summersaulted through the air, I watched my legs fly off.

Taylor remained conscious through the blast, and though he could see that he was bleeding out fast, he called out to his team requesting that no one come to his aid until the area was completely cleared of mines. After the area was secured, the medic was able to administer battlefield trauma care and save Taylor’s life. 

A few days later, Taylor was transported to Walter Reed hospital in D.C., where he underwent and survived a four limb amputation.

Taylor-Morris-2.jpgHis willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his country and for his brothers-in-arms is more than enough to qualify Taylor Morris as one of America’s great heroes. But that’s not the part of his story that I find so inspirational and remarkable. Faced with a brutal situation in which most people would despair–and couldn’t be blamed for doing so—Taylor has met his suffering with an incredible hope, humility, and courage.

His recovery in the few short weeks that have followed has been nothing short of miraculous. Over the weekend, Taylor’s stitches were removed and he was fitted for prosthetics. He’s already able to sit up and has begun the long, painful process of rehabilitation and physical therapy.

The other part of Taylor Morris’s story that I find particularly moving has less to do with Taylor and more to do with his network of support that has rushed in to care for him. Family, girlfriend, friends have all been there to pray for and with him, encourage him, be with him. But beyond his immediate relations, a vast network of complete strangers has stepped up to do right by this American patriot. A few days ago, on May 31, the aforementioned website called The Chive told Taylor’s story and called out for donations to provide for Taylor’s dream lakeside cabin. The website set a goal of $30,000 which was met and exceeded within a matter of minutes. In a beautiful outpouring of generosity in response to an even greater generosity, complete strangers donated more than $230,000 over the span of a few hours to provide for a young patriot.

My thanks to Member “bourbonsoaked” for alerting me to the story. The Chive’s story of Taylor Morris can be found here (but be forewarned that other stories on the site are definitely not Ricochet CoC compliant).