Blog offers intimate look at Cedar Falls sailor's recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Blog offers intimate look at Cedar Falls sailor's recovery


"Do you know my friend Taylor Morris?"  That's what Tim Dodd is asking in an online blog, that's becoming very popular.

It's been nearly two months since Cedar Falls native Taylor Morris lost parts of all four limbs in an IED blast in Afghanistan.  One of his closest Iowa friends is just back from visiting the sailor at Walter Reed Medical Academy in Washington, D.C., and he's created a very personal, and touching, journal about his time with Taylor.

After spending a few minutes looking at the beautiful portraits Tim Dodd created, it's hard not to get a little choked up.  For the first time since Cedar Falls sailor Taylor Morris was seriously wounded while at war, we're getting an intimate look at his recovery.

Tim Dodd vividly remembers when he learned his lifelong friend, Taylor Morris, had been seriously wounded in Afghanistan.

"I don't think many words came out," Dodd said.

So just a few weeks later, when Dodd got an invitation to visit Morris, he hopped on a plane to D.C., And the professional photographer had his camera close at hand.  Dodd caught some very intimate moments, and quickly realized the major role of Taylor's long-time girlfriend Danielle, perfectly illustrated in one particular photo.

"My favorite picture of them is Taylor working extremely hard with elastic bands.  Danielle's holding the bands for him, and you can tell in her face she's proud, she's determined, and that she is pushing him," Dodd said.

A week ago, Morris ventured out of the hospital for the first time--a freeing experience, and credit to his hard work in therapy to make it possible.  Morris has also learned to be quite crafty at everyday tasks, even joking with friends about how he eats these days

"We were talking about gaining independence.  And I said Danielle pretty much feeds me everyday.  And they said, 'Why don't you try this?' And I said, 'Well why didn't you give me this two weeks ago when I first started eating?!?'" Morris said.

Dodd journaled these experiences in a touching, online photo blog.  He's come to realize one photo might just be the most striking of all.  It was a simple idea -- have a cool photo with a neat backdrop in a subway tunnel.  What it really shows -- a climbing escalator... symbolic of uphill battle the sailor faces in his recovery, but doing it with a humble heart, and complete determination to succeed. 

"He truly doesn't see himself as a hero.  But I think the thing he forgets -- why we refer to him as a hero isn't because of what happened that day.  It's because of what's happened since:  his determination, his inspiration.  Because that has just been overwhelming," said Dodd.

Dodd's blog has only been live for about a day, and it's already had over 8,000 hits.  Dozens more shared the story on Facebook.

Friends of Taylor Morris have held benefits, and have been selling t-shirts, bracelets, and doing online fundraising to help with the sailor's medical expenses.

In the online fundraiser alone--more than $300,000 has been raised. 

You can see the photo blog about Taylor here.  To learn more about fundraising efforts and Taylor's story, click here.

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