Twenty-three-year-old Taylor Morris lost all four limbs in a bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan last May. His childhood friend, photographer Tim Dodd, has documented his recovery, shining light on the unbreakable bond between the hometown hero and his sweetheart.
Taylor and his girlfriend, Danielle Kelly, have known each other since high school.
Taylor and Tim met nine years ago on a summer job on a cornfield. Tim was 18, Taylor only 14.
“I guess being from Iowa that should be stereotypical but that’s exactly how we met,” Dodd said.
The two bonded over their love of automobiles and adventure.
“He and his friends were so young and adventurous and always kind of mischievous,” Dodd said. “I guess that was our common bond. Well, that and cars and motorcycles.”
But everything changed when that bomb went off in Afghanistan.
“The biggest fear anyone can face is losing a good friend of theirs. And that’s almost what I thought happened the day I found out,” Dodd said. “When I found out, I just sat there and cried. No words came out at all.”
Danielle, Taylor’s girlfriend, lived hours away from their hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa. As soon as she heard the news that he’d been injured, she came straight home.
“She just dropped everything the day she heard and she came home,” Dodd said. “She hasn’t left his side ever since.”
Danielle often carries Taylor on her back and has been with him almost every moment of his recovery.
“She pushes him as much as he pushes himself, and it’s a very mutual determination,” Dodd said. “Just to watch her go through these things and really push him is so inspirational. It’s something we’d all wish of ourselves if we were going through this situation.”
“The picture of Taylor and Danielle working out together — look at their faces,” Dodd said. “You can tell he’s working so hard, exerting a lot of energy. He’s doing his absolute best to get the most of his workout time and he’s really pushing himself. And then you look at Danielle’s face and you can really tell in her smile. She’s smiling, she’s so proud. You can see it in her face. She’s so proud and she’s pushing him and she’s determined too.”
Taylor has made great progress using prosthetic limbs. He even danced with his sweetheart at a friend’s wedding.
Despite the leaps and bounds Taylor has made with the help of Danielle, life has changed forever for the trio.
“Sure, we all miss his hands. It’d be a lot easier if he had a hand or two but those are the things you have to go through. It’s not fun to watch this happen to your friend or watch Danielle deal with this frustration,” Dodd said. “But if anyone can overcome and see the good in everything and succeed, it’s Taylor and Danielle.”