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Taylor Morris and Danielle Kelly arrive at the Waterloo Regional Airport in August 2012.

It’s a familiar phenomenon. After a while, people begin to identify with those who live in a high public profile situation -- like they know them personally, even though they’ve never met. Such is the case with Taylor Morris and Danielle Kelly.

Make no mistake; they never asked for any kind of profile. It was thrust upon them when Morris, a 2007 graduate of Cedar Falls High School, was severely injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, where he was serving as a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal expert. He lost portions of all four limbs in the 2012 blast.

Kelly, his longtime girlfriend and fellow 2007 CFHS grad was by his side throughout the long process of surgeries and rehabilitation. Their story captured national attention. They visited on multiple occasions with President Barack Obama, who presented Morris with the Purple Heart. They’ve appeared on shows such as NBC’s Today Show. Their social media accounts have a large and loyal following.

Their ongoing story has showcased many emotions, beginning with our initial sorrowful reaction to horrific physical injury. It has since furnished us with an inspiring example of dedication, persistence and love.

So, we understand that a good portion of the community is elated with the news the couple announced their engagement earlier this week. Count us among them.

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“I didn’t think he could surprise me anymore,” Kelly told The Courier. “He was as cool as a cucumber, and I had no idea.”

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They got a good idea of how the local community felt in August 2012 when thousands gathered at the Waterloo Regional Airport and along a route through Cedar Falls to welcome them home for a brief stay.

Later that year, a benefit was held for Morris. However, a year later, Morris and Kelly took control. Now, proceeds of the annual benefit go to selected charities -- a gesture by the couple to pay back community support.

“We know better than anybody that our community can pull together and help somebody when they need it the most,” Morris said in 2013.

Those kinds of attitudes make us proud this couple has decided to make their permanent home in the Cedar Valley. We join the rest of the community in extending congratulations and good wishes to this amazing couple.

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