What have we been up to?

Posted: 6th August 2015 by Danielle in Journal
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IMG_8447What have we been up to this year besides work, school, wedding plans, and house plans…??

We have planning the fourth annual Glow Stick 5k.

Background and history of the event:

Taylor Morris was born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. After high school he joined the U.S. Navy. During his deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, Taylor stepped on an IED resulting in the loss of all four limbs. The Cedar Valley Community rallied behind Taylor throughout his entire recovery process. In 2012, the first Glow Stick 5K was created to help raise money for Taylor. Around 400 people gathered together on a pitch black rainy night to light up the night with glow sticks and run a 5K for Taylor!

Taylor and his then long-term girlfriend, Danielle, (now fiancé) were humbled by the amount of support they had received and was inspired by the amazing people that make up the Cedar Valley. They wanted to continue fun event but shift the focus of the event to give back to the community.

RACE SET UP

Anyone from the community could nominate someone they find inspiring. A week before the race, the nominees stories are shared and the community votes on whom they find most inspiring. The voted most inspirational nominee, wins ALL THE PROCEEDS! Proceeds are raised through race registration, t-shirt, and merchandise sales. The entire event is put on through volunteer efforts and donated supplies to keep our expense account to an extreme minimum and give back in the biggest way!

Second Annual- When Taylor and Danielle decided they wanted to give back to other inspiring people around the community, it prompted the second annual Taylor Morris Glow Stick 5K; Inspired to Pay It Forward!

  • 600 participants from the community rallied together
  • $8000 was raised for Sing Me to Heaven; a non-profit to assist in children’s funeral expenses
  • Sing Me to Heaven turned around and gave $2000 to the second place nominee Sue Spece, in an effort to help build a home for her three handicap adult children.

Third Annual- Glow Stick 5K; Help Us, Help Someone Else!

  • 700 participant from the community rallied together
  • $7000 was raised for Lily Grace, a 1- year old that suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
  • Lily’s family turned around and split the proceeds evenly with the top four nominees!

Mission of the race:

The mission of the Glow Stick 5k is to bring the community together to celebrate those who have been pillars of inspiration within the Cedar Valley.

We need your help!

Our Glow Stick 5k team is passionate about putting on a fun event that will honor one of our own by being able to give back in the biggest way possible. This is where we ask your assistance.

We want to grow each year and give back more to those deserving members of our community.  We want percentage of proceeds to reach the hand of those who inspire our community to be the wholesome, hardworking, loyal individuals that make up the Midwest.

In order to continue our mission to honor those within our community, we need the help and support from you! We invite you to join our mission.

If you are local (or close to Cedar Falls, Iowa):

Please visit www.GlowStick5k.com to sign up for the race SEPTEMBER 4th!

If you are too far away to be there physically, visit www.GlowStick5k.com to donate to these inspiring nominees! They definitely deserve it.

Thank you!

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Glow Stick 5K Team

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Interview Questions

Posted: 3rd August 2015 by Danielle in Journal
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Here is an interview Taylor just completed.

 

Questions: Leadership in Practice:

  1. What was your role while serving in the Navy? Did you have to work up to this, or was it assigned to you? What leadership qualities or characteristics did you build during that time?
    1. Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technician. It was a volunteer program. The training pipeline was about a year and a half requiring rigorous physical and academic standards to be meant under pressure. Jump school, dive school, tactical training/shooting, driving, Chem/nuke/bio and high explosives were all parts of the program. My responsibilities were to circumvent or render safe any explosive hazards encountered when traveling to and from the objective. This consisted of mostly underground-improvised explosive devices (homemade bombs). During that time I was usually running point (the first person in line when the team was traveling on foot). This required pre-operation briefings and expertise in navigation, local terrain, mission planning, reconnaissance, and post operation briefing.
  2. How would you describe your leadership style and your abilities as a leader (then and/or now)?
    1. I believe part of being a good leader is knowing when and how to follow. In a team setting everybody has an expertise in something and the leadership role is passed from person to person based on the situation and what expertise is needed at that time. Being a leader is know when to step forward and equally important knowing how to best utilizes all personal and resources most effectively and efficiently.
  3. What impact has your leadership had on those you have interacted with (since returning to the United States/Iowa)?
    1. I have always been very level headed and cool, calm, and collected in high stress situations. I believe this attribute has helped me immensely throughout my injury and recovery process. From day one of my injury, I have been able to accept the position I was currently in, and then think about how I could improve it. I knew my recovery would have to be executed with small goals along the way. I used my hard work ethic that was instilled in me as a child, to push forward and achieve these small goals one-by-one. I have never been one to accept defeat. This is just another example of understanding the road was going to be tough, exhausting, and troublesome but also knowing that I was responsible for my own destiny.
  4. What improvements in your own leadership abilities would you like to see yourself make?
    1. Finding the best place to use my leadership skills (both socially and vocationally) is something I am working on now.
  5. How do you keep yourself motivated and encouraged? Is this the same for your “followers”?
    1. I am motivated by many things- technology, space exploration, entrepreneurship, education, travel- there are so many things I look forward to just thinking about when I have spare time that there is just no room for dwelling on the injury or the past.
  6. What do you see your organization achieving over the next ten years? What can you do to help it get there?
    1. I don’t have an organization, but I do have a few different things in the works. One is a maker space we are opening in our hometown. It will be a full wood shop, metals shop, 3d printer lab, arts and crafts room, a place that fuels creativity and collaboration. Lately I have been working on some 3d printable prosthetics that will be 1/50th the cost of traditional prosthetics with potentially even more function. Available to anybody with access to the Internet and a 3d printer. The markers space ignites innovation with a think-tank atmosphere. It allows new, improved, groundbreaking products and ideas to be out there in order to better the general public while stimulating progressively thinking.
  7. What gives you the courage to continue in the face of adversity? Describe, or give an example, of an instance in the past when you faced adversity as a leader.
    1. My future. Knowing that my future’s fate rest in my ability to face adversity is a huge motivation for me. I want to live an independent life. I want all the things that my soon to be wife (Danielle) and I talked about. This is what gives me courage to continue to face adversity.
  8. How do you handle disappointments, mistakes, and setbacks?
    1. I take them as they come. Everybody has them, and when it’s my turn try to look for the next move, the next big thing. The most frustrating thing for me is breaking my prosthetics, or having them die on me. When this happens I immediately stop what I’m doing, go to a different room, and take a few minutes to just reset.
    2. I am not one to blow up or yell. I am the type that knows I need to walk away from the problem, digest the mistake, setback, or issue and take some time to myself. I use this time to relax and build up enough motivation to get back at it when the time is right.
  9. What keeps you from giving up?
    1. Giving up wouldn’t solve anything; it would only make things worse. Giving up would gravely depreciate my quality of life, my independence, my future. The way I see it is, I am a quadruple amputee now, I need to accept that and move forward to make the best out of every day.
  10. Share any other information or ideas you would like about “Leadership in Practice” that helps to define you as a leader and helps others to define your leadership style.
    1. Now that I am here in this situation, I am totally adjusting focus to make life better for an amputee. Because I have a first hand look at how many problems still need to be solved- I believe I could have a big impact in this community for the greater good.

 

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Our story shared through LittleThings.com

Posted: 29th July 2015 by Danielle in Journal
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CLICK HERE to read the entire article and WATCH video!

Taylor Morris was an adventurous kid, and as he grew older he found a passion for extreme sports. Taylor also discovered he was calm under extreme pressure, which later made him the perfect candidate for the Navy’s EOD, Explosive Ordinance Disposal. According to the US Army, “They are warriors who are properly trained, equipped and integrated to attack, defeat and exploit unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction.”

In 2012, 23-year-old Taylor led a team of Army Special forces to a classified location. He stepped on an IED that exploded underneath his body. All four of his limbs were blown off. But even though he was bleeding out, he requested the medics not to come get him. He feared there were other mines that would put the medics and his team in harm’s way. The area was cleared, and Taylor survived the blast. After a long and painful recovery, Taylor became the fifth person at the hospital to survive a four limb amputation. His friends, family, and medical staff were baffled by Taylor’s calmness, fierce determination, and progress — not to mention his incredible sense of charm and humor. The stitches in his arms were removed and he was fitted for prosthetics.

But then comes the real heart of the story — the love story between Taylor and his girlfriend of nine years, Danielle. Not once throughout Taylor’s recovery did Danielle leave his side. The country was so inspired by the defiant couple that their story went viral. In 2014, Taylor proposed to his high school sweetheart on his parents’ property in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Keep the tissues close for the video below; you’re about take an intimate, emotional journey through Taylor’s recovery with Danielle by his side the whole way through. By the end, I was a mess of tears and I think you will be, too. Please SHARE this incredible video with your friends on Facebook.

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