MEMPHIS, TN— It is the best Christmas gift a Mid-South mother could get: her military son home. Army Private Taylor Odom of Horn Lake, Mississippi was injured during a training exercise in Colorado. He walked off an airplane at Memphis International Airport around 6pm Saturday December 8, 2012 and was greeted by family and friends. ABC24 News was the only television station there to welcome Odom home.
It wasn't easy to bring Private Odom to home. He suffered a traumatic brain injury during that training accident and at first the military didn't want to pay all his expenses but after our story aired on Thanksgiving detailing his problems a Mississippi lawmaker jumped in and everything changed.
He's being called a "walking miracle," the 19 year old soldier spent more than a month in a hospital.
“I feel great, I mean at least I’m not in a hospital anymore,” Odom told ABC24 News at the Memphis Airport.
"He said he would not be seen in a wheelchair. He's a solider and by God he's going to walk off the plane and did just that,” said Odom’s mother Jennifer Herrin.
Odom was hurt during a military training exercise at Fort Carson Colorado. Odom's family says a humvee landed on top of him crushing one of his lungs and causing brain damage. Today the soldier says he doesn't feel much pain.
"No ma'am, maybe from walking a little bit but I'm fine,” said Odom.
The Horn Lake solider was set to deploy to Afghanistan in February. After the accident the family says the military didn't want to pay for all of his expenses. When our original story aired things started to change. Now Odom is home.
"We made it through this, it was a fight but all of us, everybody helped, and ya'll helped and I want to thank everybody,” said Herrin.
Odom says his future military service is up in the air.
"If I'm not a cavalry scout no I don't want to be in the military anymore because I was proud to be a cavalry scout,” said Odom.
The only thing currently on his mind is being home with loved ones.
"It's a miracle, I'm blessed, and it's just the best Christmas present ever. We're just so happy," said Odom’s mother.
Odom will continue his treatment at Baptist Hospital in Southaven Mississippi. Then, the military will reevaluate to see if he is able to continue in the Army or be discharged.