A year ago, while filming the documentary "To Iraq and Back", I had the opportunity to meet so many injured veterans and get to know their families. Today, it is heartening to see they are all still recovering and making strides both large and small.
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Despite their progress, challenges remain for all these families. As they continue to face the everyday challenges of living with a brain injury, some of these veterans are also locked in a struggle with the military to get the disability payments they believe they deserve.
After being injured in Taji, Iraq, Glass, a native of northern California, lay in a coma for two weeks and had part of his skull removed. His hands were crushed and his left eye was gone.
Glass is just one of tens of thousands of American G.I.'s who have come home from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). This week marks the fifth year that U.S. military forces have been in Iraq, and doctors estimate that as many as 10-15 percent of returning troops will have TBI from their exposure to blasts. But today in northern California, there is some normalcy returning to Glass's life. He has a new glass eye that moves almost like his right eye. Although one of his fingers was lost, his grip is improving and he is even taking auto repair courses.
His confidence is up and he says people "don't stare anymore. It's just like I'm a normal person to them."
The military has not yet determined Glass' disability or his future payments.
Glass recently received military photographs from the bloody scene of the roadside attack that injured him. "I feel way lucky," Glass said, looking at the photograph.
"Some people would look at that and can't imagine that you would consider yourself lucky," Woodruff said.
"Yeah, but I am happy to be alive," Glass said.
Glass now can perform daily tasks such as e dressing himself and feeding himself, giving his wife, she says, "a chance to get my life back."
When Woodruff asked what advice they would give other couples, the Glasses agreed.
"Time heals all wounds," Amelia said.
"You just got to be a champ and just tough it out," Glass said. "I got injured in September 2006 and it's now 2008 and I am still going through it, and it just takes time and effort."
A year ago, Marine Sgt. Shurvon Phillip of Cleveland could not speak and could hardly move.
Today, there are still no words, but his mother and brother can understand his yes and no responses by the movement of his eyelids.
"He's getting there," Phillip's mother, Gail Ulerie, told Woodruff. "Slowly but surely, you know. It's a long process but my baby is making it."
Phillip's recovery has been slight. He has gained about 20 pounds and he can be raised to a sitting position.
"He can't sit up by himself, he can't do that by himself yet," Ulerie said. "I'm not giving up hope."
Doctors from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have ruled that Phillip has 100 percent disability and he will be supported for the rest of his life.
A year and a half ago, Michael Boothby could not walk. But in the fall, after extensive physical therapy, we saw him run.