Army National Guard Sgt. Travis Ryan Wood doesn't regret January 15, 2007—the day he was injured in Southern Afghanistan. Instead, he honors it. "Just to celebrate the day that, you know, we could have gone the other way, but we didn't," he says. "So we all call it our 'alive day.'"
Watch Travis tell his story.
The 25-year-old from Cedar City, Utah, was hit by three anti-tank mines while on a recovery mission. "The blast went through the hull of my wrecker and penetrated through," he says. "I was trying to scream, but I couldn't because it hurt really bad. I remember the fire around me. I don't really remember getting loaded into the helicopter, but I remember looking at the guy inside the helicopter, trying to take my breathing mask off because I felt like I was suffocating. And then after that, I lapsed into a coma and then I was out for, like, 12 days."
The injuries Travis sustained were severe. "My pelvis was crushed in multiple places. I broke three vertebrae in my back. I broke three ribs—one rib punctured my right lung. Broke my sternum. My right hip got shredded from shrapnel," he says.
On January 19, Travis woke up at Walter Reed, where he's been ever since with his wife, Stephanie, and 4-year-old daughter, Madeline, by his side. "Half her life she's been here at Walter Reed," Travis says.
Despite the challenges he faces, Travis remains optimistic. "We just got done with our 84th surgery, and it was a breeze for us. It's more like riding a bike now, you know?" he says.
Stephanie agrees. "You learn to adjust. There are days where you do despair and the only way you can get through it is through a higher power. Just that's the only way—and my sweet little angel [Madeline]."