CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The trail to help Taylor Morris warms up along Main Street in downtown Cedar Falls.
Tony's La Pizzeria was a favorite of Morris, 23, when he was a little boy. The store's owner said he wanted to help out his family, who were customers for years.
On May 3, Taylor Morris was leading an Army unit in Afghanistan. As a member of the Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, Morris would comb through miles and miles of paths and roads, searching for the roadside bombs that have killed and injured so many in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.
Yet on this day, Morris stepped bomb that blew his limbs off.
Morris told TheChive.com that he was conscious and did not fall into shock, even as he knew might bleed out.
Three days later, Morris arrived in the United States for his extended treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. TheChive said Morris was only the fifth person in the hospital's long history to survive a four-limb amputation.
On May 31, the site published the story of Taylor Morris. Near the end of the article was a story about Morris and his girlfriend Danielle Kelly. More on what he survived and, also, what they dreamed of for their future. Morris told the writer that he always dreamed of a "log cabin in the woods on a lake".
At the website's urging, the donations came in.
According to the running updates:
$27,814 in "less than 45 minutes".
$100,000 in four hours.
$250,000 by the next day.
A June 5th update also told the global, viral story of Taylor Morris. Yet it also told the story of how so many people who never met this young man, struck down in the prime of his life, has people looking out for him.
Yet back in Cedar Falls, people did know Taylor Morris.
He left his mark at Cedar Falls High School, as a member of the Class of 2007. Danielle Kelly, his girlfriend who is with him in Washington, D.C. to support him, was also Class of 2007.
So was Trevor McCormack. Class of 2007.
"Once I found out he lost all of his limbs, I just felt horrible and I knew that I worked someplace where I could help out."
McCormack works at Tony's La Pizzeria on Main Street in downtown Cedar Falls.
"We intended for a one-night fundraiser but we had such a huge number of people coming to the fundraiser," said McCormack. One night became several nights. $1,000 became more than $10,000 in donations from servers, managers, local businesses and customers.
"It was really exciting and great to see people giving up that much money to help somebody they don't even know," said McCormack.
McCormack described Morris as very athletic and active. The 2006-07 Cedar Falls High School yearbook supports that claim as Morris was on the varsity wrestling and soccer squads before he graduated and enrolled in the Navy.
The updates on Taylor's condition trickle in every day or two. The website, www.taylormorris.org, says, "The Man. The Myth. The Legend."
A post on June 14 talks about the daily progress and challenges. Author Tim Dodd writes: "...we rushed back to the prosthetics to work on fitting the arms just right, so they don't rub or cause blistering".
This is all part of the web-based circle for updates on Taylor Morris. Below are the various social media platforms to learn more: