SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Army Ranger Ryan Davis’ life changed forever two months ago when an explosive device detonated while he was deployed in Afghanistan, fracturing his pelvis and gravely injuring his abdomen, arms and legs.
The ranger survived the 20-hour flight from Afghanistan to San Antonio, Texas. His wife, Asia, was told he had a 30 percent chance of survival.
Davis is currently recovering in Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Doctors fitted him with prosthetics for his arm and leg. His wife says his lungs and kidneys are regenerating and his wounds are slowly healing but his right side will still need more surgeries to recover.
Ryan has months of physical therapy ahead.
As difficult as the tragedy has been for the Davis family, their community is banding together to make sure they know they’re not alone.
Friends and family describe Ryan as an athletic person who loves to run. So, a week after he was injured, they created a Facebook group that has reached over 1,400 members to show him that they’ll be exercising for him until he recovers.
“The page was created with the concept to use your workouts to motivate him as he motivates us to continue to work out,” Jennifer, the Facebook group administrator, said.
His wife Asia says as the family goes through this new transition, it helps to have constant support from friends and family. Especially, because Asia is relocating her family from Savannah to Texas to be closer to her husband as he undergoes treatment. She estimates they will spend a year there.
“It is a morale booster for me just to kind of see all of the people that have come together that love us and want to give us the support that they can give us,” Asia said. “If they can’t do anything besides give us a little pep talk or give me a little pep talk, that’s what they’re doing. That means the world to me.”
Asia was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so living an active life became even more important to her.
“Once this all happened to Ryan, I feel as though he can’t run right now so we need to run for him,” Asia said. “You take that for granted and once it’s gone and once you have to work back towards it kind of makes you think about life from a different perspective.”
The group has even expanded to strangers.
Brittany Dino doesn’t know the Davis family personally, but through friends within the military community and through Stroller Strong Moms — a group of mostly military moms who work out together.
Brittany says since she moved around a lot because of the military, she found a supportive family in Stroller Strong Moms, who are now joining forces for Ryan.
“You’re not just going to run three miles, you’re running three miles for him,” Dino said. “And the whole group is praying for him and being there for her. And that’s what I love about it. As a community even though we don’t personally know her, we’re still coming together.”
Brittany says with every run or workout Stroller Strong Moms do together, they make sure to dedicate it to Ryan — keeping the Davis family in their thoughts.
“But also just letting them know that we’re thinking of them,” Dino added. “In the miles were thinking about him in the workouts were thinking of them. Even just to check in with a post or group chat to let them know that we’re praying for him.”
Jennifer, the administrator for the Run for Ryan Facebook page, is a close friend of Asia’s. Her husband worked with Ryan while they were stationed in the first ranger battalion together for several years.
“People who post, ‘I ran six miles today’ and someone posted this beautiful picture this morning of her run with the sunrise and a lot of people post stuff like that very frequently we probably get about ten to fifteen posts like that every single day,” Jennifer said.
She hopes the Facebook page can provide support for the family well beyond Ryan’s initial recovery.
“As Ryan progresses in his rehabilitation, he’s going to hit a lot of roadblocks that are going to be hard for him to mentally and physically overcome,” Jennifer said.
“I hope that together with the Savannah community and with everyone across the country that has reached out to me personally and to Asia we can continue to give them motivation and support and in six months they can still feel loved and supported and in a year and two years from now when they’re still learning this new normal for them,” she added.
Jennifer also contributes to the page and shares whenever she is thinking of the Davis family and is active in his honor.
“This weekend I biked sixteen miles for him,” she said. “His favorite ice cream is cookies and cream, so I ate some cookies and cream ice cream. Later that night I enjoyed a Coors Light because that’s his favorite beer, and all of those were in honor of Ryan over the weekend.
Each day Ryan is getting further along in his recovery. Today, he walked for the first time since the accident.
Their son will stay with family and friends in Illinois for the next few weeks until Ryan is further along in his recovery. Asia will be renting a house for the year she spends in San Antonio with Ryan.
Davis Strong t-shirts can be purchased to help the family during their time of need.