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First Coast soldier injured in the war in Afghanistan makes it home to spend Christmas with his family

11:56 PM, Dec 24, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  It's one of the smallest ornaments on the Christmas tree, but to the Timoneys, it's the most important.

It says simply, "Believe in Miracles."

"It's a test of resiliency, so I think I'm doing all right," said 1st Lt. Ryan Timoney, who's from the First Coast.

To anyone who's seen Ryan's progress, they would say more than all right.

Like the ornament, his family calls his recovery a miracle.

"We put that on the picture, and looked at it every day, and as the days went on. We knew a miracle was happening," said his mom Diane.  

Timoney was in Afghanistan for three weeks this summer when his unit was hit by a suicide bomber.

In a coma for almost a month, Ryan was treated at Walter Reed Medical Center and then the Traumatic Brain Injury Center in Tampa.

After his craneoplasty, the doctor's told to his family just how far he had come.

"They explained to us just how miraculous it was, to the point where Ryan is the subject of a lot of his presentations now," said Ryan's dad Greg.  

He has two surgeries to go: one to remove the shrapnel from his head and neck, and the other to try and rehabilitate his leg.

Ryan is anxious to recover, because he said he still wants to serve his country.

"Yes, yes it is. It means a lot to me," he said.

He also can't wait to start the rest of his life with his now fiancee, Kelby.

"He woke up and came out of his coma, and I asked him if he knew who he was and he nodded. And that was the first best thing. And then we got engaged, and that was amazing! As soon as I realized he was going to live, I thought, 'I have to marry this guy,'" said Kelby.

The two were engaged when Timoney was still in the hospital.

"I feel like we've been through 10 years of a relationship now. Because we have been through things that normal couples don't go through," said Timoney.

While they want to plan a wedding, they may have a while to go.

They'll have to save the money, and Ryan has to heal. But he wants to focus on Kelby, too.

"She gave up her degree when I got hurt. She came to take care of me. So I want to make sure she finishes that," he said.

They're pulling together in an apartment outside Tampa so he can continue his therapy and be close to family.

He was doing so well, the doctors let him come home for Christmas.

"Ryan went from death's door, to now he's on the doorstep of a promising future because of this miracle, and everybody's prayers," said his Mom.

"It's a lot to think about. It really is, but God is good. What can I say? I'll do the best that I can," said Ryan.

If you would like to send words of encouragement or well wishes to Ryan and Kelby, their address is:

14012 Clubhouse Circle

Apartment 1205

Tampa, FL 33618  

First Coast News

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