NORFOLK, Va, - Their travels within their 33 year marriage have taken them all over the world. In December of 2019 - Andy Wallach and his wife Cynthia found themselves in Aruba.
"We were having such a good time and we decided to take an ATV tour," said Andy Wallach.
Andy, at the wheel, took a turn too fast.
"We crashed into the telephone pole and that's the last I remember for a month," he said.
He bled out, his leg mangled and severely fractured. "I nearly died," he said.
After two months of surgeries the prognosis was grim. "The trauma surgeon took me aside and said your husband has a 50 percent chance to live and 10 percent chance to walk again," said Andy's wife Cynthia.
But Andy's willpower won. "COVID really helped me because as the whole world stood still I was working to recover," he said.
Recovering from a catastrophic event is putting it mildly. Andy is a force to be reckoned with. "When we left the trauma hospital the goal was to always be walking," said Cynthia.
In October of 2020 the ODU alum and veteran found a lifeline at Monarch Physical Therapy.
"I've never met anyone like Andy he pushes me everyday and I push him," said Physical Therapist Maggie Cody.
Maggie has to deal with the jokester in Andy and keep him in line, but she gets to see the 75 year old three days a week with a will to live, one step at a time, "It is pretty remarkable," said Cody,
Within a short six months Andy went from told he would likely never walk again, and in a ceiling lift, to walking 100 steps at a time with a walker.
"He has so much fight in him," said Cody.
What he has accomplished from the team at Monarch Physical Therapy, has prompted Andy and Cynthia to pay it forward to the university's physical therapy program.
"If we can somehow light the spark to give them the drive," said Andy.
The couple just donated more than $2 million to the therapy clinic part of the new Health Sciences building schedule to open in 2023.
"This is not for now, but in the future when we won't be here and this will be a hub for people trying to get well," said Cynthia.
And if those in recovery needed a shining example, look no further then Andy Wallach, a walking miracle with steadfast, unyielding, and dogged determination
"At first you say why me, then you say hey this is great I can do something with this I can inspire and I am up for the challenge," said Wallach.