The Greatest Love Story?

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, February 20, 2011

Faced with the possibility of paralysis after a near-fatalwreck, Brookhaven native Kimberly Douglas Morgan, 28, was going totell her fiancée to turn away and spare him the burden of takingcare of a wife who may never walk again.

But 27-year-old U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Troy Morgan signed upfor the long haul.

His bride was held still in a neck brace and strapped tohospital bed in Huntsville, Ala., when she said, “I do.” Momentslater she was pushed down the hall for a major surgery to repair abroken neck.

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“He kept saying in his mind he married me the day he asked me tomarry him,” Kimberly said. “It wasn’t about having to make thatdecision all over again.”

Theirs could be the world’s greatest love story, and anyone whoagrees can vote so online at LIVE with Regis and Kelly.

The couple was featured on the show this week as one of fivewhose union could be the world’s greatest love story. Supportersmay cast their votes in favor of the Brookhaven daughter byvisiting

The deadline for voting is 5 p.m. Monday.

The winners of the contest will receive a week’s vacation inparadise, at the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia, deep inthe South Pacific Ocean.

Kimberly was a member of Brookhaven High School’s Class of 2000before her parents, Keith and Marilyn Douglas, moved away from thecity. Her grandfather was the late Troy Douglas, who worked at KeesMotor Company and as physical plant director at Copiah-LincolnCommunity College for years.

She met Troy Morgan online in 2007 and first laid eyes on him onthe beach in Destin, Fla. They immediately fell in love and datedfor around five months before becoming engaged on Sept. 11, 2007,while visiting Douglas family members in Jackson.

The couple had been driving hours and hours to see each otherand they decided they needed to be nearer once engaged.

On Oct. 16, 2007, Kimberly left her home in Russellville, Ala.,to join Troy in Valdosta, Ga. At 7 a.m., she was almost to theInterstate 65 junction outside Cullman, Ala., when she lost controlof her car on Highway 157.

“I don’t know what caused it. The eyewitness said I veered offthe road and it was obvious that I over-corrected to try to getback on the highway,” she said. “I lost control of the car andflipped three times. It landed on the other side of thehighway.”

Kimberly suffered four broken vertebrae in her neck, analmost-crushed left arm, a punctured lung, several broken ribs anda gash across the top of her head that was a foot and one-halflong. She lost so much blood her pressure was 25/10 when paramedicsarrived.

“My heart stopped and they had to resuscitate me twice in thehelicopter,” she said. “I was in ICU for three days.”

On Oct. 19, Kimberly was scheduled for surgery to repair herneck. The doctors told her she may never walk again.

She gave Troy the option to walk away.

“I didn’t want him to feel obligated. I thought, ‘I cannot letthis amazing man be burdened for the rest of his life,'” she said.”I was trying to do what I felt was the right thing.”

Troy did the opposite. He pledged his commitment and talkedKimberly out of her fears.

The next time he came back to her hospital room, the hospitalchaplain was with him.

“I wasn’t scared. I knew it was going to be OK, regardless ofthe outcome,” he said. “I made the decision in faith and trustedthat whatever I had to learn, I choose that. You just have to bebigger than the circumstances. That’s what we did.”

They were married moments before the surgery. Troy had to putthe ring on her right hand because the left was too swollen.

Since then, Kimberly has made a full recovery.

The couple now lives in Las Vegas, where Troy is stationed atNellis Air Force Base as a member of the 99th Civil EngineersSquadron. He’s been to Iraq twice.

And Kimberly and Troy have an 18-month-old son, Zeke – a sonthat likes to play with the TV remote.

“He turned on the TV one morning while I was in the kitchencooking and I heard Regis and Kelly say there taking submissionsfor the world’s greatest love story,” Kimberly said. “I sent themour story. It was probably a month before they called me, and it’sjust been a whirlwind ever since.”