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Ty was a handsome high school senior when he fell in love with Renee, a sophomore. When he graduated, Ty fulfilled a dream of becoming a soldier when he enlisted in the Marines. After boot camp, he shipped off to Iraq. During his tour, Renee says she wrote to him every day except weekends.

When Ty returned home, Renee was dealing with the sudden death of her father. A few months later, on her 18th birthday, Ty proposed. "Ty got down on one knee and opened the ring box and asked me to marry him," Renee says. "And a little note popped up that said, 'I owe you an engagement ring.'"

Shortly after that, Ty was deployed to Iraq again. Five months later, his family received devastating news that he and six other Marines had been attacked by a suicide bomber. Ty's skull was shattered, his face, head and arms were burned beyond recognition, and his left hand had to be amputated.
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FROM: Headline-Making Survivors
Published on November 10, 2006

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