LILLIAN, Ala. (WALA) - A Lillian motorcycle club is honoring one of our local heroes. The Vietnam Vets Legacy Vets is holding a poker run Saturday, March 30, and they said all of the proceeds will help a local Marine who was injured overseas.
Johnny Morris' life was forever changed after being injured while serving overseas.
You'd never know it watching him get around, but Marine Corps Ssgt. Morris made a substantial sacrifice for our safety.
Morris said, however, knowing the outcome, he'd still do it all over again.
"Because if I didn't do it, somebody else would have to and there are a lot of people who count on us over there. So yeah, I would do it over."
Morris works in EOD, explosive ordinance disposal.
On July 2, 2011, more than three months into his second deployment to Afghanistan, Morris said he was trying to diffuse a series of IEDs when one detonated on him.
"I just remember the heat and the concussion of it, and I just remember the dirt going across my face. It ripped my new glasses. I had just got new glasses. It ripped them off my face, and I went flying in the air and I came down on my neck. My teammate came over to me and put tourniquets on both my legs and pretty much saved my life," Morris recalled.
Two years and 18 surgeries later, this is what's left. Morris had severe damage to both legs, but lost his left one.
"I knew that my life was changed forever. It's a constant thing every day, whether it's phantom limb pain or aches and pains. You walk with a prosthetic, and it works but it's not ideal."
One month after the accident, Morris was still in the hospital when he received a call from Dan Patron's wife.
Patron was the Marine who saved him that day. He had been killed in action.
"If he wouldn't have been there, I probably wouldn't be here today," Morris said.
So Morris said he honors Patron's memory by fighting every day, never letting the enemy win.
He said he has a new outlook on life, which has led him to do things he would've never done such as jump out of an airplane.
And just as Patron came to his aid on the battlefield, another longtime friend will be supporting him Saturday.
Jeremy Collins grew up with Morris in Baldwin County and they went into the Marines together. His motorcycle club, the Vietnam Vet/Legacy Vets is putting on the poker run.
"Being able to do this for a friend and a brother who I grew up with is huge," Collins said.
"This isn't just a motorcycle event. I'm a motorcycle shop owner and a motorcycle enthusiast, but this is community support. Please come out," event organizer Don Rogers said.
"It's amazing. I'm not really one to ask for anything, or really accept any charity, but they insisted that I come down. They wanted me to be here, and it's really awesome that they'd do this for me," Morris said.
The poker run is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at H and D Cycles in Lillian. The event will start and end there with live music and barbeque.
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