Lone survivor returns to Aggieland one year after deadly plane crash in Bryan
“Luke is someone that whatever he touches, he’s going to go for it. He’s not gonna go halfway.”
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -August 30, 2020, a day many in Bryan-College Station will never forget, including Luke Armstrong, the lone survivor of a plane crash at Coulter Airfield.
Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the crash. While the crash is nothing to celebrate, Armstrong’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle.
David Walker, Tamera Walker, and Victoria Walker of Farmersville, TX, died that day. Armstrong suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and endured weeks in the ICU and rehab at the Centre for Neuro Skills in Webster, TX.
“It’s been a long journey. I don’t really remember much from the beginning. Four weeks in the ICU, two and a half weeks at TIRR in Houston. Not really a lot of memories from that I do remember,” said Armstrong. “I do remember about the middle of October when I went to the Center for Neuro Skills. I really started to progress rapidly. I began walking independently without a Walker or without someone nearby to catch me.”
" I started doing a rigorous vision therapy program under the occupational therapists. They worked very closely with the neurological optometrist and did a lot of cognition work with me, both in education and in speech. That’s where I really became a functioning adult and a functioning person again,” said Armstrong.”
Despite the obstacles and challenges, Armstrong was determined to return to Texas A&M and finish what he started back in the fall of 2017. Armstrong, now in his senior year at the university, is on the road to graduation. He currently has three courses to complete before earning his degree in construction science.
“I was a senior starting my second to last semester, taking 15 hours, obviously withdrew from all of those classes. Had I finished those 15, I would have had six left,” said Armstrong. “I was able to recover quickly enough from a cognition standpoint that I was able to take nine hours online last spring. Kind of juggling school and therapy at the same time and then did a summer internship.”
Armstrong says his love for Texas A&M and Aggieland motivated him to return with the goal of turning his Aggie Ring on graduation day in December.
“It’s the support from the Aggie family! I feel like I can’t let them down. The Aggie network, from professors to student services, everybody was on my side and on my team and in my corner, and I felt like I had to finish,” said Armstrong. “I’ve always wanted to be an Aggie, and I got my ring in the hospital last September. Getting that ring, I knew I’d finish. I had to.”
“I’m an Aggie through and through, and so I need to graduate an Aggie as well.”
Those that know Armstrong say his determination and drive are an encouragement to everyone.
“Luke is, for one thing, he’s one of the most diehard Aggies I’ve ever met. If there was one person who was going to make sure he was going to get back to Texas A&M, it was Luke Armstrong,” said Justin Bruce, friend and fraternity brother. “He is nothing short of a miracle. His determination is just remarkable. I know with what he went through under a reasonable circumstance, he should be nowhere near where he is.”
“It just shows how badly he, for one thing, wants to succeed and wants to be the best at whatever he does,” said Bruce. “Luke is someone that whatever he touches, he’s going to go for it. He’s not gonna go halfway.”
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