MADELIA, Minn. (WCCO) – A Minnesota Marine who was hit while driving his motorcycle and left for dead on the highway has come a long way.
John Byro was nearly killed last October when someone crashed into his motorcycle in the small southern town of Gaylord. He spent several months in the hospital recovering with the ultimate goal to get back on his bike.
Byro’s laugh carried throughout the crowd of about 20 friends and family members in Madelia where everyone had gathered for a motorcycle ride. This ride is special because it’s the first one since John Byro was injured.
Many of the people there he hadn’t seen since before he was in the hospital.
One day earlier, John was released from the VA Medical Center. He spent seven months in different hospitals recovering from a brain injury, broken collarbone, and broken ribs. Parts of Byro’s memory he lost are beginning to come back, but not the one of the crash.
“I hope someday I do (remember),” says John, who wants to find out who was behind the wheel of the car involved in the crash. There is a five thousand dollar reward for their arrest
“He probably figured I was dead and he could drive off and not get caught,” said John.
However the reason every one gathered Saturday was a day to look ahead.
“All I wanted was for this day to get here,” says John.
Among the small crowd, Dave Byro, John’s father, is the most nervous one.
“It’s great, but as a dad, you’re going to worry,” says Dave.
Riding is part of their father-son bond.
“I love all my kids, but John and me have a lot of common interests,” says Dave. “To see him lying in the hospital, not knowing if you were going to get to do them again, that was pretty hard.”
John says the support of those around him helped get him through the most difficult months when he was comatose, and then not able to walk.
“The family and friends I have are the only reason I am where I’m at,” says John.
Saturday afternoon, while riding down Highway 60, John’s fight to get back on the bike ends.
“I got one hand on the handle bar,” says John, “It feels so good to just be cruisin’ down the road!”
Byro was on his way to Mankato to pick up a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.