Today photographer Kristen Henderson and I went to Salem to talk to a female soldier about surviving a roadside bomb. We drove through the beautiful Willamette Valley, and found the soldier and her family in a house tucked away off a windy road.
Staff Sargeant Tara Hutchinson was riding in a convoy last February when the bomb went off. It ripped through the Humvee she was in and nearly tore off her leg. Doctors immediately amputated it. She lost so much blood and oxygen to the brain, that her hands now shake uncontrolably. It will be months before Tara can wear a prosthetic because she's in too much pain.
Tara's husband was serving in the same unit. He arrived just as she was waking up from surgery. The army later transferred him to Texas where his wife is undergoing rehabilitation. You could see how devoted he is to her, as he held her trembling hands during the interview. He told us he was interested in her the minute he saw her, but she ignored him. "I did!," Tara said, explaining she wasn't interested in dating anyone.
It didn't take long for him to persuade her.
I asked how long they've been married and Tara said they got married on August 27th of last year. Tara said she has lost so much time, that she didn't know this is their first anniversary. They hadn't thought about a celebration, instead they're focussed on Tara's recovery.