CEDAR FALLS | A July 29 airport mishap and happy ending involving disabled Cedar Falls sailor Taylor Morris late last month is getting national and international exposure on the Internet and various media outlets.
Morris is a decorated U.S. Navy bomb disposal expert who lost portions of all four limbs in a May 2012 explosion in Afghanistan. He slipped and twisted one of his artificial legs on his and girlfriend Danielle Kelly's return trip from their friends' wedding in Las Vegas, Kelly wrote in a July 29 journal entry on the taylormorris.org website. A staff member at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport there, equipped with a set of Allen wrenches, repaired the leg.
The story of Morris and his good-Samaritan airport worker was reported Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" morning program Monday. It was also picked up in the United Kingdom by London's Daily Mail and other more local news outlets including KCCI-TV in Des Moines.
"Taylor slipped which completely twisted his left knee outward," Kelly wrote in the journal entry. "This was at the start of a eight-hour day of travel. I wouldn’t call walking easy with prosthetics but it walking with a crooked prosthetic definitely isn’t easy."
Their tools to repair Taylor's leg was packed with their checked luggage and inaccessible, Kelly noted. "So we started asking any maintenance or airport management we saw if they had a metric Allen wrench."
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After being initially frustrated in a search at the airport and on the phone for assistance, "another airport employee overheard what we were looking for and said he had standard Allen wrenches on him and would see if that would work.
"By the luck of all that is holy, one of the standard Allen wrenches worked," Kelly wrote. "It wasn’t perfect but it was about 90 percent better, which allowed for a much smoother traveling day.
Final repairs were made at home in Cedar Falls.
Morris and Kelly will host their third annual Glow Stick 5K charity run Saturday at Gateway Park in Cedar Falls. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m., and the race starts at 9 p.m. Registrations are still being accepted at $35. Day-of registration will be available beginning 90 minutes before the race.
Proceeds go to selected charities as a gesture by Morris and Kelly to pay back community support they have received.