No one can predict the future. That's why Veterans United Foundation helped former Navy EOD2 Taylor Morris when life didn't go according to plan.
COLUMBIA, Mo – Very few of us wake up thinking, “today is the day my life will change forever.” These days are infrequent, scheduled and often monumental celebrations. We await and prepare ourselves for these live-changing events for months. Our training, preparation and expectations make these major transitions in life smooth and exciting. Typically, we create a countdown, and the days prior to our big occasion appear slower than time could possibly allow. The anticipation is at an all-time high.
However, on May 3, 2012, former Navy EOD2 Taylor Morris didn’t have the luxury of knowing that his life was about to take a dramatic turn. Neither an alarm sounded nor a countdown timer ended signaling that he was about to become a quadruple amputee. Morris didn’t know he was going to be struck by an improvised explosive device. He didn’t know that his time in the Navy would abruptly come to an end. He didn’t know that he would now reside at Walter Reed Medical Center. And he didn’t know that May 3, 2012 would be the day that changed his life forever.
Throughout his deployment, Morris and his longtime girlfriend Danielle Kelly made many plans for his arrival back in the United States. “We not only planned our life’s future, but the immediate future too. There was so much life ahead of us. We had so many ideas and so much planned,” Kelly wrote in her first blog post on taylormorris.org. “But I guess the joke is on us, because you can’t plan life. Life just happens.”
Morris remained conscious during his accident and immediately thought of his loyal family patiently waiting and anticipating his homecoming. He asked his teammate to call Danielle and his family and tell them every detail that had just occurred. No amount of planning, waiting or thinking could have prepared Morris’s most intimate friends and family for the news they were about to receive. Their beloved son, brother, boyfriend and service member had sustained multiple injuries and would never be the same again.
When Veterans United Foundation heard of Morris’s story, they knew they had to get involved. No other recipient for the 2014 Home for Hero a Grant sounded more deserving than him.
“When we first heard Taylor and Danielle’s story we knew we had to help,” said Megan Sievers, director of Veterans United Foundation. “They deserve a home where they feel comfortable, safe and, above all else, happy. We are honored to help make that dream home a reality.”
The annual $200,000 Home for a Hero Grant is awarded to a severely injured veteran to assist in the cost of a mortgage-free home built specifically to meet his or her needs. This year, the Foundation team traveled to Morris’s hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa to present the check that will aid Morris in completing his future home, which will be built specifically for his needs. Together, the couple has begun to scout out land and make plans for their home – a big transition and life event that will fall seamlessly into place because of the work of Veterans United employees and their Foundation.
Updated story, Quadruple Amputee Taylor Morris on the Path to Home Ownership. February 7, 2014