Hundreds holding flags and posters lined the route from the airport to Main Street Cedar Falls.More >>
Taylor landed around 2 p.m. at Livingston Aviation in Waterloo. The Patriot Guard lined the road at the airport with flags and cheered as Taylor and Danielle walked out of the airport and into a convertible used to drive them along the unofficial parade route.
Cedar Falls native U-S Navy EOD tech Taylor Morris, was given the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Monday. The presenter, Rear Admiral Frank Morneau gave a speech that moved many. Morneau talked about howMore >>
Cedar Falls native U-S Navy EOD tech Taylor Morris, was given the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Monday.
The presenter, Rear Admiral Frank Morneau gave a speech that moved many. Morneau talked about how much he admired Taylor Morris and wanted to be like him.More >>
It's a love story that's inspiring strength in people around the world.
In May, an improvised explosive device, also known as an IED, detonated under United States Navy EOD Technician Taylor Morris' feet. The Cedar Falls native lost both legs, and portions of both arms. A blog documenting his progress has recorded more than 1.5 million hits from 20 different countries.
The majority of that blog is written by Morris' longtime girlfriend, Danielle Kelly. KWWL'S Colleen O'Shaughnessy sat down with the pair during a short visit home in October. She received an inside look at their love, passion and patience for each other as Morris adjusts to life as a quadruple amputee.
"We just love being together. We genuinely enjoy each other's presence. I think, that's a pretty special thing to have," said Morris.
Morris and Kelly's love story begins in the Cedar Valley. Among other things, over a shared passion for Mexican food.
When he joined the Navy and worked his way up to EOD Technician, they understood the inherent risk. But there is no way to plan for a life without a hand to hold.
"Those little things are one of the more hard things. Like, not being able to hold his hand while walking down the street," said Kelly.
"For little things like that. Yeah, they're different," Morris agreed. "Can't reach out and grab your hands. But now she reaches out and grabs the nub. And just likes to hold onto that."
They've approached life after the explosion with a sense of humor, and a great deal of patience. The pair also decided, early on, to document Morris' progress online so friends and family could keep up with his daily trip-ups and triumphs. Then, suddenly, the number of "views" began to skyrocket.
"We started to get comments from, I'm a mother of this person who knows you through this and this person. And I live in Africa," said Kelly.
"Why, I don't know. Everybody loves a good love story, right?" Morris noted.
But their love is much more than any picture can truly capture. Always each other's biggest supporter, Kelly is now at the center of Morris' recovery.
When they're faced with a situation his prosthetics can't handle, she becomes his legs.
When her heart feels like it will break, his is there to keep it together.
"When I'm having an off day, she's usually having an on day. And vice versa. That's one thing that always helps out," said Morris.
The explosion took away his limbs. But even a blast that strong couldn't shake their bond.
"You know that's a pretty tried and tested relationship. I would say. You know, I don't see any other obstacle that would be bigger than this that would come along," said Morris.
"As much has changed through his injuries and everything -- nothing's changed between us. It just seems like just another day. Every day has its problems. We just have a different problem to conquer each day. We just get through each day, one by one," said Kelly.
They'll conquer each day, each step, each bowl of salsa, together. Because Kelly may not be able to hold Morris' hand. But she holds his heart, as he does hers.
The couple said they do want to get married, although those plans are delayed as he recovers. Their long-term plan is to move home to the Cedar Valley. For the time being, they're living off-base at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while Morris continues his rehabilitation.
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