Byron “Mac” Meads is receiving some of the best medical care in the world, but there’s one treatment that Walter Reed National Military Medical Center can’t provide.
Seeing his two children for the first time since a serious helicopter crash “was some of the best medicine I could have asked for,” said Meads, a Westside High School graduate.
The Army chief warrant officer 3 was flying a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan June 21 when engine failure knocked his OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter out of the sky.
“It wasn’t a perfect landing, but survivable,” Meads said by phone this week from Bethesda, Md.
Both Meads and his co-pilot survived the wreck, but with serious injuries. Meads is recuperating from two broken legs and spinal damage and was just diagnosed with a moderate traumatic brain injury. The head injury is
already causing memory loss.
“In my eyes I think I’m doing great, but my wife tells me I forget things,” Meads said.
Angela McCoy Meads, also formerly of Augusta, has been by her husband’s bedside since he arrived from Germany. They have two children, Tristen, 12, and Scarlett, 10, who are staying with family and will wait for their return at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The couple made the tough decision to keep them there so they can start school, but their recent visit gave him a huge boost in morale.
“It was awesome to see them,” Meads said.
Meads expects he’ll be out of the hospital by October, but it will take at least a year before he’s close to 100 percent well. Until then, he’s taking it day by day with his wife’s support.
“She’s been my rock,” Meads said.