Have you seen my friend Taylor walk?

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For those of you who don’t know Taylor’s story, I suggest you get caught up by reading about my first time visiting Taylor. It starts at the beginning of his journey and will get you caught up.

It had been just over two months since I last saw my friend Taylor Morris.  Although when I came home I was inspired more than ever, had all the faith in the world that he’d succeed, and knew he would remain determined, I still had a moment of pity. I realized just how much work he still had to do to gain any sense of normalcy. What I forgot about Taylor is that he is very, very sneaky.

On the morning of August 16th, Taylor’s younger brother Riley and I left our hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, to make the 15 hour drive to Washington, DC.  We arrived at Walter Reed Medical Academy sometime after midnight and went straight to bed so we would be well rested to see Taylor in the morning.  To my surprise, we were up early and beat Taylor down to his morning appointment in physical therapy.  99% of the time where you find Taylor, you find his girlfriend, Danielle.  But when Riley and I first met up with Taylor, Danielle was back home to be with her family for a week.  We would be picking her up the next day from the airport.

We gave Taylor huge hugs and were so delighted to see him greet us with a full and genuine smile. Although he took his wheelchair from his apartment to the physical therapy building, he brought all of his limbs with him in a bag dragging behind the wheelchair.  I don’t know if he saw his physical therapy time as an opportunity to show off or not, but I’ll tell yah what, he showed off!!! :) He put his limbs together and on all by himself, then managed to stand up completely on his own.  This is even more amazing considering Taylor is using the most advanced legs already, Otto Bock x2’s.  The x2’s have a passive knee joint that can guess what Taylor is attempting to do based on where the pressure is on his feet, the angle of the leg and by where Taylor puts his weight. Although they’re highly advanced, if you step wrong, the knees turn into a folding lawn chair and you’ll find yourself on the ground instantly.

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor is creating his own rules and timeline for his recovery. Last time I was out there, I was hoping by the next time I came out to see Taylor that I could maybe see him stand. It was a lofty goal, as it often takes at least three months to heal enough to be fit with prosthetics. Once a person stands, they need to re-learn their sense of balance starting from a low height and slowing increasing their leg length for weeks until they can balance at their original height. Then they learn to move around on a knee-less leg, and eventually they will try knees. This process can literally take years, even for a single amputee. Taylor was in his knees within one month of first standing. Needless to say, the higher ups are watching him and his physical trainer, Brad, under a microscope to make sure he’s truly progressing properly and not just rushing through the recovery.  Brad is doing the best job he can to try and mold Taylor’s recovery to Walter Reed’s strict recovery process, but Taylor simply won’t have it that way. He’s pushing the boundaries, breaking the rules and learning skills far faster than anyone could imagine.

 

When I say breaking the rules, I literally mean breaking the rules. I felt like I was back in the early years of our friendship when Taylor decided to sneak back into the MATC after hours and get more time on his legs. He said he didn’t even break a sweat with his therapist and wanted more time on the legs! We snuck back in, put his legs on and walked at least a mile and a half! It was so great to walk beside Taylor for an hour and catch up and dream about the things he’ll be doing when he gets done with his recovery. We joked around about several different business ideas, but for now, I think I like our sushi and wheat grass idea best! haha

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

As if those extra laps weren’t enough, Taylor demanded we take them back to the room so he could wear them over the weekend. I swear, once he gets an idea in his head, you can’t stop him. So, against all knowledge and recommendation of the hospital, he took his legs out to pick up Danielle that Saturday.  Saturday morning Riley and I were entertained by Taylor’s mood. To say he had a bounce in his step wouldn’t be an exaggeration. He provided an enjoyable soundtrack as he whistled all morning, anxiously awaiting the arrival of his loved one.

 

Taylor has this attitude that he’ll learn things as they come. When we went shopping Saturday afternoon, he kept his legs on. He walked around a tightly packed, busy store downtown DC and didn’t have a single incident. He didn’t flinch when he walked up to the escalators. Riley and I braced for the worse, thinking it’d be some big event, but Taylor just hopped on, cackled and said “Sometimes you just gotta go for it.” Taylor bought a new outfit that he’ll be sporting at a friend’s wedding this September, which helped remind us that Taylor is one seriously good looking guy.

That evening, we did an incredible photo shoot with all of Taylor’s gear. The images speak for themselves.

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Even if we planned for days, we couldn’t have gotten the shot on the right if we tried. It just so timed out that the President was flying over at the EXACT same time and place as our photo shoot! We had about 5 seconds to turn around and capture this picture as Marine 1 flew overhead!

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

My absolute favorite part of my time spent out there was when we spontaneously decided to head down to Taylor and Danielle’s house in Virginia Beach. Riley and I hadn’t seen their place, so on a whim we took off for the 220 mile trip. For the entire four hours of the trip, it was impossible to tell anything has changed in Taylor’s life. He and Danielle still flirted in the back seat the whole way down, tickling and teasing each other the entire time. We all laughed and listened to music and got to forget about the hospital. That night we spent a few hours hanging out with Taylor’s EOD buddy, Josh. It was really fun for Riley and I to see this part of their life. A nice refreshment from therapy and doctors.

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Of all the good times we shared down in Virginia Beach, the one thing I learned is don’t ask Taylor to wrestle. I joked with him as we got our beds ready for the night, “Do you think you can wrestle still?” He put on his poker face, held back a smirk and said “I think so.” Before the sentence left his tongue, he was already on top of me shoving me onto my back. The pure shock sent me into hysteria! I don’t think I’ve belly laughed like that in years.  I struggled to catch my breath as Taylor continued folding me into a pretzel. Moral of the story: Don’t ask a former state wrestler to wrestle, even if you’ve got 50 pounds on them.

Maybe surprising strength is a common bond Taylor and Danielle share.  Until Taylor can wear his legs full time, there are still obstacles when loading and unloading a car or when going up and down stairs. Danielle doesn’t hesitate when we arrive at our destinations if there are steps involved (like the 15 to get to the main floor of their house). She bends down, Taylor hops on her back and she carries him up the stairs without complaint or struggle. It’s a beautiful site, really. That’s when I realized her emotional strength is matched only by her physical strength!

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

When the rain cleared Monday evening, we took a stroll on the beach before leaving town. It was the first time since the accident they’d been to the beach together. They used to run on it often and I could tell they are looking forward to that day when Taylor can run down the beach with her again.

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Tuesday would bring us back to their routine: Physical therapy, occupational therapy and answering e-mails.  Taylor still has a ways to go as far as mastering his legs, but his progress is nothing short of astounding. He’ll continue to break the rules, exceed expectations and push the boundaries of what’s possible.Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Riley and I had a lot of time on the way home to process our time with Taylor and Danielle. We took home a few key notes:

1. Don’t ask to wrestle Taylor unless you have a good chiropractor.

2. Taylor and Danielle laugh and smile constantly. Their love beams from their faces, and their love shows in their hard work.

3. Don’t tell Taylor he can’t do something. Whether you know it or not, he will go and do it ASAP. So to this I say, “Taylor, you can’t ride a motorcycle again.” I can’t wait until he proves me wrong :)

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Taylor Morris quad amputee walking Bethesda Walter Reed Otto Bock x2 Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa double AK above knee amputation

Read the follow up to this story here.

To keep up to date with Taylor’s progress, make a donation, or buy a Taylor Morris T-Shirt; please visit www.taylormorris.org

130 thoughts on “Have you seen my friend Taylor walk?

  1. I am amazed every time I see you taylor you are a strong person and you are NOT going to let anything hold you back! And they love that you and danielle have is the most beautiful love I have ever seen. Keep up the good work. :)

  2. Ha! You show 'em Taylor. While the doc's can give you an educated guess, it's the strength and determination of your soul that will determine if you succeed. Here's to your success! "Cheers"

  3. I'm not sure why I continue to be amazed at Taylor's progress. Overwhelming is an understatement. Thanks Tim Dodd for sharing with us.

  4. What can I say? These two amazing, beautiful people bring me to tears of joy. Haven't had them since my first grandchild was born. 28 yrs. ago. Love them both. What do you think of me now?

  5. Love this article. I've been following Taylor for some time now and as you know he is incredible. I must compliment you on your photography and I especially love the black and whilt of Taylor piggyback on Danielle. Just plain awesome.

  6. I hope Taylor will see this, If gets over to McGregor IA He has a BIG steak on the house at Uncle Sam's Saloon & Restaurant and a room at the Eagle Hotel upstairs from the saloon. Thank you Taylor for your service and sacrifice for my freedom. God Bless YOU! and all our troops.

  7. I can hardly see the screen to type this! This is an incredible set of pictures and story! You are the MAN Taylor! Seeing you and your mate and friends standing by you is just GREAT! It is men like you that show everyone else just how far one can go and the things a human can beat down and win over. Keep going young man. I render you a hard SALUTE! Thank you for Serving and may God bless you and bring happiness into yourlife forever.
    GPB USA (Ret.)

  8. Fantastic writing Tim and great pictures… Taylor and Danielle I have said it before the sky is the limit and well gesh we all know that ya'll will not stop there! Thank you Tim for sharing this with us all.

  9. WOW! What an inspiration to us all. Thank you for serving and fighting for our freedom. I'm sorry this happened to you but I'm so glad you fought back and keep on fighting to live a full life. The pictures are beautiful and it's plain to see that happiness is still possible despite pain and struggle with the right people by your side. I will pray for continued faith, strength and courage as you continue on your journey together. Thank you for sharing your story. :-)

  10. Tim, you really have a way with words and photographs. Thank you for sharing your visit and experiences with Taylor and Danielle. Taylor is continually exceeding all expectations. I do not know him personally, but have grown very fond of him and his beautiful girlfriend Danielle. The photographs of them smiling were the best! It is wonderful to see them enjoying their time with friends.

  11. Tim, Thank you so much for this story. It is wonderful to have a point of view from one of Taylor and Danielle's friends. Your photo's are stunning and I agree about the motorcycle, For now, Danielle can take him for the ride of his life but soon it will be the other way around!

  12. This blows my mind. What an amazing person Taylor is and Danielle is perfection. They're both so lucky in so many ways.

  13. Thank you, Tim, for your fantastic blog and beautiful pictures. You have captured the love that Taylor and Danielle share for all of us to see. This is an amazing young couple whose love is so unconditional that it is so refreshing. Taylor is such a strong person that I have no doubt that he will figure out how to get on that motorcycle. What an inspiration to us all! Our country is so lucky to have Taylor.

  14. Taylor, thank you for everything, for your service, your sacrifice, and most of all for your inspiration, how can I complain, I will push forward, and I will push forward hard! God bless you! And Danielle you are an amazing young woman! I am so proud of you both although we have never met! Keep pushing onwards!

  15. You, Taylor, are the embodyment of the word 'Hero'.You will do great things in your life. You will inspire your fellow wounded warriors. With your tenacity and dedication, in combination with the love and devotion you have in your heart, I am POSITIVE that God has special works for you and a blessed life for you as well. I thank you for allowing me to see into a small part of your life; I have family that has served, family that has been severely injured in wars past, they recieved no thanks or honor when they returned home, I want you to know that you have my deepest respect, I honor you as a man and a soldier, I appreciate your contribution to our country, I pray for your recovery and a long life of happiness and peace. I WILL NOT forget your service or your sacrifice. God be with you, lead and guide you, and ever keep you and all that you hold dear in his loving care!

  16. I am speechless. Each time I read a post about Taylor I am loss for words. These pictures say it all. Taylor is an incredible young man. Danielle is an incredible young women. Their lives are touching so many, beyond family and friends.

  17. WOW! I'm so humbled by this website and Taylor Morris' determination. I work for a company called LBT that makes Tactical Gear for our troops and this hits home to me with what we do. Keep Being Awesome Taylor!

  18. This is an incredible story, and your photography is fantastic. I look forward to following his story and sharing it!

  19. you are an amazing soldier. Thank you for all you have sacrificed for all of us and GOD bLESS you as you continue your journey. Thank you is not enough but is said with heartfelt feelings.

  20. just amazing story! thumps up to you Taylor! I had bad motorcycle accident long time ago. was paraizled right side but I'm back riding again. anybody can do anything if they just try hard enough. hats off to you!

    1. What an awsome war hero story, full of amazing acomplishments, true grit, unbelievable love and devotion and the most heatwarming example of overcoming any obstacle with pride, strength and unimaginable will!!!!!

  21. Taylor, you are such an amazing person and an inspiration to all of us. May God richly bless you and Danielle.

  22. Taylor, I'm extremely impressed with your determination, you are a great example of the human spirit, God Bless You, you've shown us that there is no mountain you can't climb! Thank you very much for your service to our great country! It's men like you that have given her to us! Bryan Welden

  23. We are so impressed by Taylor and what he continues to accomplish. Just Amazing! A few ladies from Ames took a day trip over to see The Freedom Rock with one side of it dedicated to Taylor.

  24. Tim, you certainly have a way capturing moments with your photography. Almost feel like I was there with you. BEAUTIFUL.

  25. omg! this young man (and his totally awesome friends) are TOTALLY AWESOME! Taylor you are such a super-hero! I pray the good Lord continually bless you with the "kick-ass" spirit that you possess. I will be keeping track of your progress and expect to see you flying over the next several months! lol May God bless you and your wonderful loving friends, may He keep you strong and determinded to "keep on keepin' on". Best wishes to you my super-hero.

  26. What a love story. Taylor I know you can ride a motorcycle again. There is a TV program my husband loves to watch. They built a motorcylde with a ramp for a vet who is in a wheel chair. Then added a side car for his wife to ride with him. So it can be done, not that I doubted you.

  27. Thank you Todd for sharing with everyone about this wonderful man's story. I have laughed and I have had tears while reading. You are a wonderful friend to a very strong willed man and his beautiful girl friend. Taylor Morris you ROCK.

    1. FB friends, you must go to Tim Dodd's Blog to see his stories of his friend Taylor Morris, the sailor who lost part of his legs, an arm and hand. Taylor Morris is an incredible young man. Tim's visits to DC to visit Taylor will make you laugh and you will have tears in your eyes. I have spent the past hour plus just reading and looking at wonderful pictures of Taylors journey so fard.

  28. so he's a robot or something? He's obviously been designed to look like David Beckham but you can totally tell from his face that he's an Android. also his legs don't look very realistic.

  29. I came across this story while reading some news. One soldier to another, welcome home!

    I am a United States Navy Service Connected Disabled Veteran myself rated at 100%/IU due to numerous injuries I too incurred in the line of duty. To just look at me however, you would never be able to tell because my injuries are internal, albeit I have some nice scars to show. However I thank God each and every day that I did not lose any limbs (yet – future may change that) and so my salute goes to Taylor and his lady for the struggle I can only imagine he lives with each and every day.

    Like Taylor I try to live for each day as best as I can. I hope other disabled Veteran's out there like Taylor and I will read this story and see the hope and inspiration of what it is truly like to be a real Hero because Taylor was not just a Hero in uniform but is even more so now in this battle.

    One last point, Taylor is NOT the only hero here in this story. The woman standing by his side is just as large, just as big a hero in my eyes. To have the love of a woman who understands completely, who is willing to make those choices and the sacrifice of being with those who have served, to be with us through the bad times and the good times. THAT is a woman that to me is a true Hero and Taylor is one very lucky man!

  30. The pictures of Danielle carrying Taylor bring tears to my eyes…what a wonderful love that these two special people share. Both of them are my heroes.

  31. I was feeling sorry for myself….wanted to stay home and mope, not go to class. Someone can kick me in the ass now. ;-)

  32. Thank you for sharing Taylor's story! Taylor says he's not a hero. Then how about brave, strong, courageous and inspiring! Danielle too!

  33. Taylor, this movie of you MUST be one shown on the BIG screen. I seriously believe if you can get your story out to ALL Americans, there would less self-bitching, self-centered folks around. People everywhere need to learn from you and from Danielle as well. The two of you KNOW what it really means to LOVE and you both have such incredible inner and outer strength. You have my admiration, my encouragement and my support. Thank you for being, Taylor, such an amazing human being. God Bless!

  34. Hermosa historia. Trabajo en diario La Prensa de Honduras y llevo sus historia… Digna de que todo el mundo la conozca. Abrazos fuertes

  35. I can't words..
    In fact..I have sooo many words.
    All respect to you Taylor..you're such a fighter with a lovely spirit. :)
    And as much I am sorry about that accident..I am glad you came out of it THAT STRONG..and you've became a real example for many…me including.

    As for your friends..(represented here by Tim)..you are the true meaning of friendship..and that's make me to believe there's still good people in life.

    Danielle..you're amazing..
    That's picture on the stairs..I JUST LOVE IT! I keep on starring to it!
    I would call that picture.. "That's LOVE"…

    GOD bless you all..

    Mina (from Egypt).

  36. I love this story. It's soo amazing all that he has done and all that he will do! Way to go Tyler! Also, I give huge kudos to his girlfriend for sticking by him, so utterly sweet and beautiful..Loved the photos of them together. God bless you all! I wish there were more good genuine people in the world like you guys.

  37. Words can't begin to describe the feelings that I felt while reading this and looking at the pictures. Taylor and Danielle you are real heroes in my book, keep up the good work. God bless you and your friends!

  38. God was definately watching over him and knew it wasn't his time to go because He had something else for him to do and a purpose for his life. Always remember that God is with you and He has kept his promise that He would never leave you or forsake you.

  39. WOW! WOW! WOW! I cannot stop being completely amazed! Taylor Morris is a quadruple amputee and he just keeps amazing everyone! As a 100% Disabled Veteran with one above knee prosthetic leg, I have always been inspired by those who are double above knee amputees.
    I simply cannot imagine the fortitude and tenacity this man, Taylor Morris exhibits on a daily basis! I, along with many other veterans, SALUTE YOU TAYLOR MORRIS AND WE WISH YOU THE VERY BEST AND MOST SUCCESS THIS LIFE HAS TO OFFER!
    Precious Danielle, YOU ARE AN ANGEL STRAIGHT FROM HEAVEN! I KNOW TAYLOR IS A VERY LUCKY MAN TO HAVE YOU IN HIS LIFE! YOU BOTH ARE HEROES! Just remember, you will both have days when the trials you face will seem impossible. Those are the days you will need each other the most, but will want to be by yourself. Fight off the urge to be alone and find strength in one another!
    May the Lord bless you both in all your righteous endeavors!
    Thank you so very much for sharing your story with us and for your service to our Country!

  40. I am in awe of you and all that you've accomplished to recover. You have the best friends ever and you and they all know it! How special is that! I don't think you need it but I wish there was someway that regular people like me could help you guys – work through your physical therapy's and such as you recover. Sort of to augment the real military folks just to help out! May God continue to bless you and speedy recovery. Love you too Daniel and Todd!

  41. Danielle and Taylor, please meet Chris and Juliana. Another inspiring couple just like you both. Maybe all of you can start up some sort of project to show the world what true love is all about? Kudos to you all , Aloha. Kim
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nQY4dIxY1H4&quot; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>.

  42. Danielle and Taylor, please meet Chris Medina and Juliana. Another inspiring couple just like you both. Maybe all of you can start up some sort of project to show the world what true love is all about? Kudos to you all , Aloha. Kim

  43. Danielle and Taylor, please meet Chris Medina and Juliana. Another inspiring couple just like you both. Maybe all of you can start up some sort of project to show the world what true love is all about? Kudos to you all , Aloha. Kim
    Please see Chris' song on Youtube – What are words. http://youtu.be/nQY4dIxY1H4

  44. I am so in love with these two strangers. :') They honestly make my heart melt. I am a fellow military spouse and I am so so touched by Danielle's love, dedication, and support. She is the personification of a military spouse. :) <3<3<3

  45. Taylor & Danielle's story has brought me to tears! You both are amazing! Taylor? Please never let anyone ever stop you! Danielle? You are equally amazing! You both truly inspire me!

  46. I COME FROM A MILITARY SINCE W W l l. TO THE PRESENT. TAYLOR IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HANDSOME AND HIS BEAUTIFUL GIRLFRIEND IS JUST SO AWESOME. SO WHEN IS THE WEDDING? NOW THAT MAN IS MORE THAN A HERO. HE IS THE BEST EXAMPLE OF WHAT THE TRUE MEANING OF WHAT IS A MAN!
    GOD BLESS YOU BOTH AND LIVE A GREAT LIFE.

  47. I'm still crying from the first part of this story! And Danielle, you go girl! Taylor, you are an inspiration! Thank you again, for my freedom. And thank you Tim, for the incredible story and pictures! God bless you all!

  48. I read a lot of heartful stories but none have touched me as much as Taylor and Danielle's. I will never look at challenges, mental or physical, the same way again. I will be a fan of both of you the rest of my life.

  49. Taylor w?a?nie przeczyta?em troch? na temat Twojego nieszcz??liwego wypadku… Jest mi bardzo przykro… ale ciesz? si?, ?e mia?e? I masz tyle determinacji by dalej funkcjonowa?… oraz, ?e mia?e? tak wspania?e wsparcie w ?onie I najbli?szych ;) pozdrawiam.

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