Name: Antwon Pinkston
HUNTINGTON– On Oct. 25, 1996, Erin Moreland’s family was shocked by tragic news — that their teenage daughter was seriously injured in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury with multiple fractures to her body.
Moreland had been an unrestrained passenger in the back seat of the totaled vehicle. At age 16, she had just received her driver’s license a month before the accident.
“I knew my so-called friends had been drinking, and I wanted to go home, but I didn’t have my driver’s license with me,” Moreland said. “But I don’t regret what’s happened because God has carried me from death’s doorstep to the height of new horizons.”
This year, Moreland surprised her family again. But this time it was with one of her new horizons.
After almost 10 years of what Moreland described as going through trials and tribulations, the 25-year-old graduated Friday from Marshall Community and Technical College during a ceremony at the Memorial Student Center.
One of those trials and tribulations experienced was when Moreland spent three weeks in Cabell Huntington Hospital and six months at the University of Virginia’s Kluge Children’s Rehab Hospital. Another two years were spent in HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Huntington.
“The doctors did not expect her to live,” said Moreland’s mother, Vickie Moreland. “She had to learn everything over again, from going to the bathroom to learning how to talk.”
After years of family counseling and rehab, Moreland — with support from her family — made a remarkable recovery, and she finished her senior year in high school at Cabell Midland in 1999.
“When she graduated high school, we knew she wanted to pursue college,” Vickie Moreland said. “But now that she’s graduated, it’s very emotional for all of us because we know how far she’s come.”
Because of the residuals of her brain injury and suffering from memory loss, Moreland was limited to two classes per semester. She plans to continue working a few hours per week at the Guiding Light Christian Book Store in Barboursville and also traveling to several local and out-of-state high schools to share her story.
“God has a plan for me,” she said. “That is to give others the courage and strength to avoid making the same mistakes I made.”