February of last year, Paramedic Billy Wynne was the sole survivor of an EagleMed helicopter crash in Oklahoma City. Wynne suffered burns on 65 percent of his body; a broken ankle, leg, arm, ribs and a crushed spine and sternum. He underwent several surgeries and significant treatment for his injuries. Doctors made the tough decision to amputate his left leg and fingers. He now uses a cane to walk. After four months in hospital care out of state, Wynne was brought back to INTEGRIS just in time for the birth of his daughter just a floor above him. He is now home and continues to make remarkable progress.
September of last year, Matt Grice, an Oklahoma City police officer, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being rear-ended by a moving vehicle going 65 mph while he was sitting at a stop light. Immediately following the accident, Grice underwent surgery for the bleeding in his brain and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors prepared his wife and family for the worst and the prognosis was grim. A former UFC fighter, Grice was not one to give up and he put that fighting spirit into his recovery. After being in a coma for more than a month, he awoke with little to no memory and was wheelchair bound. After months of therapy at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, Grice is now a walking and talking miracle. Although he still has some short-term memory issues, Grice continues to make remarkable strides in his recovery.
E.H. Pittman, a soldier with the 45th Infantry Brigade, had just returned from a year in Afghanistan when he went to work at the 7-Eleven in Moore. That evening, an EF5 tornado would come barreling down on the store where he was working and his life was changed forever. When the sirens sounded, Pittman rushed his co-workers and customers into the bathroom. He continued his heroic efforts by shielding those in most need – a young mom and her infant son. After the tornado had passed, Pittman was the first to be rescued. Upon being pulled from the rubble, he continued his efforts by telling rescuers where the others were located. Pittman had suffered critical injuries – severe wounds, fractured shoulder blades, collapsed lungs and a broken back. Although paralyzed, he continues to work toward his ultimate goal of walking again.
National Winner, Gary Linfoot
A highly decorated soldier, Gary Linfoot was a member of the U.S. Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). During his 19th combat tour in Iraq, his helicopter had a mechanical failure and crashed. As a result of his injuries, he was instantly paralyzed below the waist. After just three months of rehabilitation, Gary returned to duty as the officer in charge of the Special Operations Aquatic Training Facility. Gary served as an attack helicopter pilot in the army for 23 years before medically retiring in 2010 as a Master Aviator. Today Gary lives in Nashville, Tenn. with his wife Mari and is back on his feet with the help of the Ekso Bionics exoskeleton.