Posted: 18th September 2014 by Danielle in Journal
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I play sand volleyball every Thursday night. Tonight I was the first game where I had to take off a piece of jewelry out of fear.  The engagement ring Taylor gave me is maaaaybe a half size too big but I haven’t taken it back to get resized because I didn’t want to give it up after just getting it.  Since it was a little big and we were playing sand volleyball, I thought it would be better to take it off before the game rather than have it slip off mid-game and have to sift through sand all night to find it.

This may sound cliche but after only 4.5 days with the engagement ring on, I felt naked with out it!



Gold Star Museum Speech

Posted: 17th September 2014 by Danielle in Journal
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Last weekend we spoke at the Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge (outside of Des Moines Iowa).

It was a really fun speech.  We gave some background information about what the last two years has brought us.  Then a question/answer for the last 45 minutes.  It was interesting to hear what everyone want to know more about.

The museum was beautiful.  We looked at it a little bit but will definitely have to go back to see everything.



Afghanistan veteran Taylor Morris shared his war story of tragedy, love and perseverance to a crowd of veterans, civilians and active-duty troops at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge Saturday.

Morris, 26, of Cedar Falls, served as a explosives disposal technician in the Navy during the Afghanistan war. He was injured by a bomb in Kandahar province in May 2012. The explosion cost him both of his legs, part of his left arm and his right hand.

Now the sailor is back in Cedar Falls with his girlfriend, Danielle Kelly, and is studying business at the University of Northern Iowa.

But while he told the crowd he lives just an ordinary life now, his days are anything but ordinary. Thanks to prosthetics, Morris has skied, driven race cars and gone sky diving.

And once he graduates from UNI, he said, “the possibilities are endless.”

One audience member asked how Morris and Kelly are able to stay positive after his life-changing ordeal.

Kelly said that Morris himself hasn’t changed. Once, when he and Kelly were at a hospital, next to them was a man whose limbs were fine — but he couldn’t perform basic tasks like speaking because he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“From that point on, we realized it’s not the best, but it’s not the worst,” Morris said.

Bill Hartsock of the PO2 Taylor Morris Chapter No. 323 of the Iowa Korean War Veterans Association helped organize the event with the idea that Morris would enjoy seeing the veterans chapter named in his honor.

“We’re very thankful we have such an awesome support group,” Morris said. “My story got a lot of traction. I’m definitely not the only wounded soldier.”



Somebody pinch me!!!

Posted: 16th September 2014 by Danielle in Journal
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I’m on cloud nine and I still cannot believe it finally happened!!!


Here is a really nice article the Courier printed today!


hours ago  •  

CEDAR FALLS | Danielle Kelly is no longer Taylor Morris’ girlfriend. That is, she is no longer only his girlfriend. She’s now his fiancee.

The couple announced their engagement Sunday on social media.

Kelly has been by Morris’ side since the sailor lost portions of all four limbs in a May 2012 bomb blast in Afghanistan, aiding his rehabilitation. They have received national and international attention.

They have been frequently asked about marriage. On Sunday, Morris himself popped that question to Kelly.

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

Morris, ever the romantic, invited Kelly to a picnic lunch at one of their favorite places — a spot on his parents’ property, near a little creek by a fire pit. They’d been going there since first dating nine years ago while attending Cedar Falls High School.

Morris prepared the lunch — including sandwiches, vegetables, wine and music. It was nothing out of the ordinary for him.

“Seriously, Taylor is such a romantic nothing crossed my mind at this point,” Kelly wrote online.

When Kelly went to dish up ice cream for dessert, she found a ring box inside.

“At first, I thought it was a big piece of chocolate,” she wrote. “Then at a second glance, I notice it was a box! I grabbed the box, opened it. It was the perfect ring, and Taylor asked me. I was so shocked that I think it took me a minute or two to finally say ‘Yes!’”

Kelly said Claire Morris, Taylor’s sister, knew what was afoot in advance. Also, Kelly said, “He had asked my dad’s permission a while ago, but no one knew it was going to be today.”

But Morris began preparing for the big moment months ago. The 1-karat-plus ring came from Precieux Art Jewelers in Cedar Falls. Its owner and operator, Dave Cutler, said Morris came to the business in January or February to order it.

“Talk about patience,” Cutler said. “We told him we were not going to put anything about it on our Facebook page until he told us. He said, ‘It might be a while.’ He was saving up for it. He had it all planned out. I’m so happy for them. They are such a nice couple.”

Kelly said she and Morris are anticipating a wedding next fall, though no firm date has been set and no plans made. Morris is taking business classes at the University of Northern Iowa. Kelly, already with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, is in the middle of an MBA program on scholarship online from the University of Maryland University College. She also is now an active real estate broker with Cedar Valley Real Estate Solutions.

The couple also are still working on securing a site to build a home — an iPad controlled “smart home” to accommodate Taylor’s disabilities.

Some $500,000 was raised to build the home by various foundations, under the “Building for America’s Bravest” initiative of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation of Staten Island, N.Y., and the namesake foundation of actor Gary Sinise.

The foundations co-organized an August 2013 concert in Cedar Falls by Sinise’s “Lt. Dan Band” to help raise the funds.

Kelly said it would be “awesome” if their home could be ready in time for their wedding.