17-09-12

It's been so hard and she's been here the whole time': Amazing love story of bomb disposal expert who lost arms and legs in Afghanistan blast and the girlfriend who has been at his side during remarkable recovery

Looking glamorous in evening dress, the picture of this happy young couple at a friend's wedding is  remarkable - when just a few months earlier, the soldier was lying in hospital after having his arms and legs amputated following an explosion in Afghanistan which almost killed him.

The astounding progress of 23-year-old Taylor Morris, a U.S. military bomb disposal expert, is testament to the unwavering support of his family, friends and girlfriend Danielle Kelly - who has been by his side every step of the way.

New photographs, taken by a friend in August, show just how far the Navy specialist has come since he almost died after stepping on an IED on May 3 this year.

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Stronger together: Decorated veteran Taylor Morris and his girlfriend Danielle Kelly pictured at a friend's wedding just four months after the soldier lost his arms and legs in an explosion in Afghanistan

Stronger together: Decorated veteran Taylor Morris and his girlfriend Danielle Kelly pictured at a friend's wedding just four months after the soldier lost his arms and legs in an explosion in Afghanistan

 

 
Unwavering: Miss Kelly has helped 23-year-old Taylor come to terms with the devastating injuries he suffered in Afghanistan four months ago

Unwavering: Miss Kelly has helped 23-year-old Taylor come to terms with the devastating injuries he suffered in Afghanistan four months ago

The touching images show Taylor being carried up a flight of stairs on Danielle's back and the couple working together on his rehabilitation exercises at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C.

They are also pictured last month at a friend's wedding in their hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, beaming at the camera and slow-dancing alongside friends. 

 
 

Images also show Taylor visiting the White House on a day to honor veterans and lining up with fellow groomsmen at the wedding with the use of his new prosthetics.

The pictures were taken by the couple's friend and photographer Tim Dodd. According to his blog, while receiving a Bronze Star with Valor at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Taylor paid tribute to Danielle saying: 'If I had hands, I’d take this Bronze Star and pin it on Danielle.

'It’s been so hard and she’s been here the whole time.'

 
Road to recovery: Taylor and Danielle work together at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C.

Road to recovery: Taylor and Danielle work together at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C.

 
Courage: Danielle carries Taylor up the stairs and gives the decorated hero a hug
Courage: Danielle carries Taylor up the stairs and gives the decorated hero a hug
 

Courage: Danielle carries Taylor up the stairs and gives the decorated hero a hug

The homecoming on August 30 saw the residents of Cedar Falls line the streets with American flags to welcome the injured hero home.

After attending the wedding of friends and visiting family, the couple then returned to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. to carry on with Taylor's rehabilitation.

They plan to return home to attend a fundraiser on October 19 which is being organized via theTaylor Morris Community Support on Facebook.

On May 3, Taylorwas leading a team of U.S. Army Special Forces to a classified location near Kandahar province when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device, which went off directly underneath him.

 
A hero's welcome: The couple walk past the marque at the Oster Regent Theatre in their hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa where it reads: 'Taylor Morris, Hero, Welcome home'

A hero's welcome: The couple walk past the marque at the Oster Regent Theatre in their hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa where it reads: 'Taylor Morris, Hero, Welcome home'

 

 
Remarkable recovery: Taylor was fitted with prosthetic arms and legs in May and is well ahead of schedule with his progress

Remarkable recovery: Taylor was fitted with prosthetic arms and legs in May and is well ahead of schedule with his progress

Since his story was featured on The Chive in May, readers have raised more than $250,000 for the young man to help him buy his dream home and plan for his future.

 
 

‘As soon as I stepped on it, I knew,’ he told John Resig, the co-owner of the website which first told the story.

‘There was a moment, then I heard the blast. I felt the heat. I knew I had lost my legs. As I somersaulted through the air, I watched my legs fly off.’

 
Lean on me: The young couple have achieved their goal of owning a log cabin thanks to more than $250,000 of donations from those who were touched by Taylor's bravery and sacrifice

Lean on me: The young couple have achieved their goal of owning a log cabin thanks to more than $250,000 of donations from those who were touched by Taylor's bravery and sacrifice

 

 
Honored: Taylor and Danielle attend an event at the White House for veterans during the summer

Honored: Taylor and Danielle attend an event at the White House for veterans during the summer

 

 
Romance: Taylor and Danielle hold hands as he continues to make progress after being injured in Afghanistan earlier this year

Romance: Taylor and Danielle hold hands as he continues to make progress after being injured in Afghanistan earlier this year

Taylor landed back in the blast crater, but despite the horrific injuries he had sustained, he remained conscious and did not go into shock.

Even though the 23-year-old was bleeding profusely from all four severed limbs, he called to the oncoming medics to stay away from the site of the blast so as not to put them in danger in case there were other mines around. 

The area around the injured man was finally cleared by the second EOD specialist, and the medic finally administered combat casualty care. Morris remained alert throughout the whole ordeal.

 
Taylor Morris has been recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from his injuries

Brave: Taylor Morris has been recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from his injuries

 

 
 
Morris (right) was leading a team of U.S. Army Special Forces near Kandahar province when he stepped on an IED

Injured: Morris (right) was leading a team of U.S. Army Special Forces near Kandahar province when he stepped on an IED

 

 
Doctors removed stitches from Morris' arms on May 30
The 23-year-old has become only the fifth patient at Walter Reed to survive a four-limb amputation
 

Survivor: Morris was told that he was only the fifth patient at Walter Reed to have survived a four-limb amputation

‘They asked me how much it hurts on a scale of one to ten.  I said, ‘Definitely a ten. It freaking hurts,’’ he recalled.

Medical crews and comrades were under fire as they came to his aid. They got him on a stretcher and he was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Kandahar and then to Germany.

Somewhere between those final two stops, Morris finally lost consciousness after a doctor administered a strong sedative.

Three days later, on May 6, the 23-year-old arrived back in the U.S. and was transported to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, to begin the long and painful rehabilitation process.

Morris became only the fifth patient at the hospital to ever survive a four-limb amputation. So far, his progress has been ahead of schedule.

 
Morris said he still has sensations in his arms and legs

Phantom pains: Morris said he still has sensations in his arms and legs

 
Following the explosion, Morris told his comrades who rushed to his aid to stay away in case there were other mines around

Hero: Following the explosion, Morris told his comrades who rushed to his aid to stay away in case there were other mines around

 
Morris' girlfriend, Danielle Kelly (right), his mother, Julie (center), and his father, Dan (left), have been by his side at the hospital

Loved ones: Morris' girlfriend, Danielle Kelly (right), his mother, Julie (center), and his father, Dan (left), have been by his side at the hospital

‘My body is responding well,’ Morris said. ‘I'm already sitting up. I'm very fortunate.’

On May 30, the stitches in his arms were removed and he was fitted for prosthetics. The stitches in his legs were removed several days later.

Danielle Kelly (right) said he and Morris have always loved water sports and nature

Adventurer: Danielle Kelly (right) said he and Morris have always loved water sports and nature

Morris’ sisters, Molly and Claire, have been organizing fundraisers at home.

His brother, Riley, is serving in the Iowa National Guard, and his father, Dan, has been at the hospital with his son as often as work permits.

Morris has had visits from other wounded warriors; top military personnel, including the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; Congressman  Bruce Braley and actor Joe Mantegna, an advocate for returning veterans.

While he said that his medical bills are covered, the 23-year-old man with a love of the great outdoors said that he has always dreamed of building a log cabin in the woods on a lake where he could live with his girlfriend, Danielle Kelly.

‘Taylor and I are both savers, and we had been working our butts off to ensure we'd have a cabin, close to water to do water sports, and places we can hike,’ Kelly said.

‘After what happened, we will not abandon that dream if it takes years of saving.’

The Chive invited viewers to make contributions toward Morris’ dream cabin, setting the goal at $30,000, but just 12 hours later, $143,000 had been raised through online donations at TaylorMorris.org.

Donations have now exceeded $250,000 and the family's website was experiencing technical problems today because so many people were reading his remarkable story.  

Cheques also may be made out to the Taylor Morris Recovery Fund at any Veridian Credit Union branch. Bracelets and T-shirts are available for sale at TaylorMorris.org, where donations can be made throughPayPal.

 

08:38 Gepost door sarah miller | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Kate is crowned an Island Princess as she wears decorative headpiece given by well-wishers during village visit in South Pacific

The Duchess of Cambridge became an Island Princess as she was crowned with a headdress of fresh flowers today.

Kate and her husband, Prince William, were visiting a cultural centre in South Pacific when the decorative headpiece made from exotic frangipani and bougainvillea was placed on her head unexpectedly.

The Duchess beamed at the tribute as she and William were cheered by thousands of barefoot well-wishers in the Solomon Islands.

 
Newly-crowned: The Duchess, wearing a £180 bright yellow dress from Jaeger, proudly sports the decorative headpiece given to her by well-wishers

Newly-crowned: The Duchess, wearing a £180 bright yellow dress from Jaeger, proudly sports the decorative headpiece given to her by well-wishers

 
 

 

 
 
Crowning glory: The Duchess of Cambridge happily paraded her new headwear, given to her by well-wishers in Honiara and made from exotic fresh flowers
Star attraction: The Duke and Duchess are treated to more energetic song and dance performances from villagers, having given Kate a brightly-coloured decorative headpiece (right)
 

Crowning glory: The Duchess of Cambridge happily paraded her new headwear, given to her by well-wishers in Honiara and made from exotic fresh flowers 

Processions of dancers from the provinces making up the Solomon Islands were all out in force to greet the Duke and Duchess today

Processions of dancers from the provinces making up the Solomon Islands were all out in force to greet the Duke and Duchess today

 

 
Special performance: Fearsome spear and shield-wielding warrior-like men showed off a number of dances for the Duke and Duchess in the Cultural Village

Special performance: Fearsome spear and shield-wielding warrior-like men showed off a number of dances for the Duke and Duchess in the Cultural Village

Dressed in a bright yellow sleeves dress, which cost £180 from Jaeger, and her trusty beige LK Bennett heels, Kate cut a colourful figure as she and William were greeted by fearsome island warriors singing war chants.

The men were dressed in loin cloths, body paint and carried spears, while the women were bare-breasted and wore skirts made from tree bark with bracelets and necklaces from leaves.

 
 

The Festival Village in the capital Honiara had nine thatched huts each featuring singers, dancers and handicrafts from the provinces that make up the Solomon Islands, 900 miles east of Papua New Guinea.

The dances on display included the vevei, a clapping dance which denotes war or sacrifice, the vevua, a celebratory fan dance and the levu, which is a ceremonial dance performed when 'big men' or important guests come to the village.

 
 
Island princess: The Duchess of Cambridge waves from a car while wearing her flowery headdress as she leaves the cultural village in Honiara in the Solomon Islands

Island princess: The Duchess of Cambridge waves from a car while wearing her flowery headdress as she leaves the cultural village in Honiara in the Solomon Islands

 
Child's play: Kate is presented with a miniature canoe by two local children during a visit to the Commonwealth Youth Programme in Honiara

Child's play: Kate is presented with a miniature canoe by two local children during a visit to the Commonwealth Youth Programme in Honiara

 

At one hut, a group of traditionally dressed musicians from the Isabel Province played God Save The Queen on their pan pipes, surely one of the most beautiful renditions of the national anthem the couple have ever heard.

As is often in the tropics, a sudden downpour occurred as the couple walked around, with staff hurriedly holding umbrellas over the Duke and Duchess.

At the Temotu Hut the Pele Dance Group from the Reef Islands danced up to the Duchess, but then scuttled back crippled with shyness.

The Duke turned to his wife and said: 'Look, they have gone all shy.'

The couple then split with the Duke going on to make a speech to a Commonwealth Youth Conference, while Kate met a group of women and young girls all working to highlight inequality in Melenesian society, where there is a distinct lack of female health facilities and domestic violence can be common.

All smiles: Traditionally-dressed local villagers were in a friendly mood during the day as they happily chatted to the Duchess of Cambridge

All smiles: Traditionally-dressed local villagers were in a friendly mood during the day as they happily chatted to the Duchess of Cambridge

 
Come together: The royal couple are introduced to a group who provided them with a traditional chorus in the Cultural Village

Come together: The royal couple are introduced to a group who provided them with a traditional chorus in the Cultural Village

 
Crowd-pullers: The Duke and Duchess, together with security and local officials, take a stroll through the Cultural Village in Honiara watched by hundreds of locals

Crowd-pullers: The Duke and Duchess, together with security and local officials, take a stroll through the Cultural Village in Honiara watched by hundreds of locals

 

 

Earlier on the visit the royal couple were greeted and cheered by thousands of barefoot well-wishers in the Solomon Islands today

Earlier on the visit the royal couple were greeted and cheered by thousands of barefoot well-wishers in the Solomon Islands today

 
Warm welcome: The Duke and Duchess appeared relaxed and comfortable in the Cultural Village in Honiara, as they moved into the second half of their nine-day trip

Warm welcome: The Duke and Duchess appeared relaxed and comfortable in the Cultural Village in Honiara, as they moved into the second half of their nine-day trip

 
Souvenir: During the trip today the Duchess was presented with a cake in the Cultural Village which she described as looking 'delicious'

Souvenir: During the trip today the Duchess was presented with a cake in the Cultural Village which she described as looking 'delicious'

 

 
Local culture: The Duchess talks to a woman in traditional costume while stopping to get to know villagers who came out to greet her and The Duke

Local culture: The Duchess talks to a woman in traditional costume while stopping to get to know villagers who came out to greet her and The Duke

As she walked in to the open-sided hut, Kate was taken by a group of nine young girls, again one from each province, clad in their regional dress.

She asked Leonie Palmer, 17, from Makira what her necklace was made from and looked slightly surprised when the girl told her it was dolphin's teeth.

'We use them for bartering for food and other things,' she explained.

'We only wear these necklaces on the most important of occasions.'

At the end of the meeting Kate was handed a beautifully decorated cake to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which she was told would be sent on to their hotel for the night so that she and William could try a bit.

'It smells delicious,' she said.

'How long did you take to make it. Twelve hours? Wow. It is amazing.'

She was also handed gifts of books and beaded pots as well as beautiful hand carved canoe by brother and sister Hubert and Vasiti Devisi, aged ten and seven.

 
 

 

 
Taking it all in: Fearsome bare-chested men performed a ceremonial dance for Kate, along with a 'levu' dance normally reserved for 'big men' or very important guests

Taking it all in: Fearsome bare-chested men performed a ceremonial dance for Kate, along with a 'levu' dance normally reserved for 'big men' or very important guests

 
Pleased to meet you: Kate took time to chat with a wood carver during her daytime walkabout in the Cultural Village, after which The Duke gave a speech to 40 young people

Pleased to meet you: Kate took time to chat with a wood carver during her walkabout in the Cultural Village, after which The Duke gave a speech to 40 young people

 
Intricate: The Duke and Duchess looked suitably impressed by the work of carvers in the Cultural Village, who were fashioning detailed models by hand

Intricate: The Duke and Duchess looked suitably impressed by the work of carvers in the Cultural Village, who were fashioning detailed models by hand

 

Royal approval: William looks on as his wife talks to locals in the Cultural Village, where the Duke and Duchess received a warm welcome

Royal approval: William looks on as his wife talks to locals in the Cultural Village, where the Duke and Duchess received a warm welcome

The Duke gave a speech to 40 young people involved in a Commonwealth Pacific Youth Leadership and Integrity Conference as part of a project to engage and empower young people ages 15-29.

He said: 'I find it inspirational that young people like you, coming from all over the South Pacific, have chosen to become involved with the Commonwealth. We are its heirs and successors.

'We must take on the responsibility, the mantle of leadership for the future. I applaud you for being here, and I wish you well in your work in Honiara over these days.

'What you are doing, and the friendships that you make, are critical for your future as young leaders, both in your own countries and in the global family that is the Commonwealth.'

The Duke also presented six young people with Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards: Bryan Anga, Hudson Oeta, Harry James Olikwailafa, Ray Richard, Ashley Watson from Solomon Islands and Rebecca Solomon from Vanuatu.

Having a ball: The Duke of Cambridge even found time to briefly demonstrate his football skills with local boys in Honiara as part of the day's itinerary

Having a ball: The Duke of Cambridge even found time to briefly demonstrate his football skills with local boys in Honiara as part of the day's itinerary

 
 
Staying dry: The Duchess holds an umbrella while waving to well-wishers, as the royal party refused to let a spot of inclement weather ruin the friendly atmosphere

Staying dry: The Duchess holds an umbrella while waving to well-wishers, as the royal party refused to let a spot of inclement weather ruin the friendly atmosphere

 
Meeting the locals: Kate watched women and children take part in a traditional dance, where singers and dancers emerged from nine thatched huts in the Festival Village

Meeting the locals: Kate watched women and children take part in a traditional dance, where singers and dancers emerged from nine thatched huts in the Festival Village

Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Regional Director, Pacific, Afu Billy said: 'It is an honour to host the Duke and Duchess with us at the start of the Commonwealth Pacific Youth Leadership and Integrity Conference.

'The Royal couple are an inspiration to young people in the Commonwealth. We are delighted about the Duke of Cambridge’s comments that he has been inspired by the young leaders he met in Honiara.'

The Duke of Cambridge also paid tribute to the value of the Commonwealth as he commented: 'We are, more than ever before, a global community.

'The Commonwealth reminds us of what we have in common, what our responsibilities to one another are, without this ability to cross the boundaries of nationhood, race and creed, humanity in the future would find it very much harder to advance toward greater harmony and sustainable co-existence.'

Yesterday the Duke and Duchess had been pictured boarding an unconventional truck in the shape of a canoe as they made their way from an airport in Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

The couple will this afternoon fly out to the paradise island of Tuvanipupu, famed for uits crystal waters and luxury hand-thatched bungalows, where they will spent a night in private before continuing with the last few days of the Diamond Jubilee tour on behalf of the Queen.

 
Sailing into the sun: Yesterday William and Kate had boarded a truck decorated as a canoe while leaving an airport in the Solomon Islands

Sailing into the sun: Yesterday William and Kate had boarded a truck decorated as a canoe while leaving an airport in the Solomon Islands

 

 
All aboard: The Duke and Duchess's method of transport from the Honiara airport may not have been conventional, but still raised a smile from onlookers

All aboard: The Duke and Duchess's method of transport from the Honiara airport may not have been conventional, but still raised a smile from onlookers

08:33 Gepost door sarah miller | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Why Ash Furniture Is A Nice Addition To Your Home

Those who are not too familiar with the different kinds of hardwood furniture, might think that ash is an altogether different proposition compared with its hardwood rival, oak furniture. Ash is actually a kind of wood with the same elastic and durable properties as oak. It is also a dense kind of hardwood with tighter grain, making it an ideal material in crafting not only living room furniture but also bedroom and kitchen furniture.

Advantages of ash booties

1. It is more affordable than Cambridge oak furniture.

Many people turn away from oak furniture simply because it is too pricey. Antique oak furniture has a shockingly high price tag that cannot be afforded by starting homeowners. If you have just bought your home, on a tight budget and looking for furniture to bring home, oak might not be such a good idea.

2. This material is quite versatile.

Red oak is considered a very versatile hardwood. But as mentioned earlier, it can be quite pricey. A more affordable but still versatile material you can opt for is White Ash. It has similar grain pattern to Red Oak. In fact, once it is has been stained, White Ash has a deceptively oaky appearance to it. Check out living room furniture made from White Ash.

If you like wood furniture made from traditional hardwoods, but you want a cheaper alternative, Black Ash should be a wonderful option. Black ash furniture is such a hot item in the market today. Integrating wood furniture creates a polished and sophisticated look in the room. You can check out couches created from Black Ash to give you a feel for how they will look.

3. It does not emit a strong and pungent wood odour.

Certain types of hardwood and softwood tend to emit a strong wood odour. A lot of people do not really mind the odour since it makes the room smell fresh and clean but others do not care for the odour of wood too much. If you are one of those, this kind of furniture material should work well for you.

4. It is very durable.

Much has been said about its ability to withstand wear and tear. It has hardness and durability similar to white and red oak. As furniture for your living room, it should be a top option. If you have furniture pieces at home that succumb to wear and tear quite often, you might want to invest in furniture pieces made from ash. They are inherently resistant to wear and tear. Ash is also known for its ability to prevent premature decaying. If you still doubt its durability, just check baseball bats. They are made from ash wood. Baseball bats are exposed to wear and tear all the time but they do not break down or get damaged easily. That is how durable ash wood can be.

5. It is sustainable material.

08:27 Gepost door sarah miller | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |