BROWNSVILLE, Ore. — This isn't just the story about Justin McLaughlin learning to walk and talk again.
This isn't just about disproving doctors who warned his parents that Justin might be a vegetable for the rest of his life.
It's about getting a second chance after a horrible wreck in June 2001.
Justin — a branch missionary in the Brownsville Branch, Lebanon Oregon Stake — still has difficulty walking at times, trouble seeing and speaking, and girls treat him much differently.
He can't play basketball the way he used to. Yet, all that doesn't matter to the 32-year-old.
"I attribute my life 110 percent to Heavenly Father," Justin said.
It's a remarkable show of faith for a man who turned away from church as a young adult.
"All things are for our good," said his mother, Ann Anderson. "If we have enough faith."
It's that faith that quickly became tested after she got the phone call that June 21.
The one that said her son had been hit on his motorcycle.
The weather was clear when Justin left work that day from his construction job in Dayton. He headed toward Newberg on his blue Suzuki 600 Bandit motorcycle, eventually taking Highway 219 into Newberg.
As the road evolved into North College Street, Justin continued at a speed of 35 mph. As he approached Crestview Avenue in a residential neighborhood, a woman in a white Toyota Tercel prepared to turn left onto North College.
Accident reconstructionists would later reveal that mailboxes on either side partly blocked the woman's view of the road.
Brownsville resident Verne Hoyer later did laser mapping at the crash scene as experts worked to re-create the events.
"I just think the woman wasn't paying attention," Hoyer said.
As she turned left onto North College, she didn't see Justin coming toward her. His bike hit the side of her car and his head hit the gas tank on his bike.
In Eugene, Ann was painting a ceiling at a home where she was going to live with her soon-to-be husband, Rich Anderson. They were to be married that Sunday. Rich's first wife had died earlier, and Ann was starting over after a divorce.
The phone rang. It was her son Chris with the news that paramedics were taking Justin by helicopter to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
Ann hung up and dropped to her knees. To pray.
After the phone call, Rich and Ann raced north to Portland. The needle stayed above the speed limit, and Ann said she yelled at every motorcycle that passed them up.
"Do you know how stupid you are?" she said at the time.
At the hospital, doctors operated for roughly six hours on Justin. He suffered severe head trauma, and his spinal column was pushed into his brain. Doctors worked to stop serious bleeding around his brain stem.
Memories of Justin came back to Ann while she waited with other family members. He was the third of her seven children growing up in Rosalia, Wash. As a freshman at Rosalia High School, he was 5-foot-10. By the time he was a senior, he was 6-5.
Justin developed a love for basketball and played throughout high school. He graduated from Rosalia in 1995 and spent a year at Washington State University. In 1996, he went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York.
He came home early in the fall of 1997 and was excommunicated from the church in 1998.
"I was doing a lot of things negative before my accident," Justin said.
Girls were intensely interested in Justin, his family said. Especially after high school.
"He never had to ask a girl for a date," Ann said.
It was about 11:30 p.m. on June 21 when a doctor finally came out to see Ann and her family.
The news was not good. If Justin started bleeding again, doctors would be unable to stop it, the family was told. Rich and Ann, scheduled to be married that weekend, changed their wedding venue to the OHSU chapel that Sunday.
"I'd never faced this kind of crisis before," Rich said.
Ann gave him a chance to back out right there.
"If you want to run, then run," she told him. "But don't ever come back."
While he admitted to being "disoriented and panicked," Rich didn't leave.
It was only the beginning for the newlywed couple.
Justin would remain in a coma for more than four weeks. It was possible he would not ever walk or talk again, doctors told his family.
Justin was moved upstairs at OHSU after three weeks in preparation for a possible move to a nursing home. On his second night there, complications forced him back to intensive care.
It was his second time in intensive care that something wonderful happened. In medical terms, it's known as peaking. For the family, it meant that he was waking up.
Now that he was emerging from his coma, Justin soon began the process of learning almost everything all over again. In August 2001, he moved to a rehabilitation unit at Legacy Good Samaritan in Portland.
It was a difficult process for family members to walk alongside the towering Justin as he moved from wheelchair to walker to walking with assistance.
"When he would sway, it was like a tree standing over you swaying," Ann said.
The man who was feared by doctors to be a vegetable continued to develop his voice over time, and he could eventually walk without assistance.
He moved in with other family members near the end of September. While his physical scars continued to heal, some family relations would take longer.
By then, it was December 2008 when Justin called Ann. He said he couldn't speak with her anymore. She had heard this before from him since the accident. But in the six months before that call, Ann had felt good about the progress of their relationship.
Justin had rejoined the Mormon church and was continuing to improve spiritually.
One day, Ann's phone rang. It was from Justin, who had fallen in his Portland apartment, hurting his head and twisting his ankle.
Ann managed to get medical help for her son and rushed up to Portland.
Rich and Ann bought him some groceries after he was released from the hospital, and they returned him to his Portland apartment.
The event sparked a more permanent healing.
Justin called her several times over the next year in 2009, culminating with a phone call in October. They had cut his hours at work and soon, mother and son were together again.
"Every day, Justin has a positive impact on my life," Ann said. "He is such a gift to our family."
Since his accident in 2001, Justin has been hit three times as a pedestrian by cars, but suffering no serious injuries. He now lives with Rich and Ann in their Brownsville home.
On a recent day, 13 pairs of Justin's size-15 shoes are lined up neatly in the living room. That's in addition to four other pairs of dress shoes.
He still lifts weights to stay healthy, even though he can't lift near the amount that he used to.
Justin doesn't care what women think anymore.
"I went from where girls threw themselves at you to where girls won't touch you with a 10-foot-pole because you're disabled."
Unlike the years leading up to 2001 for Justin, the church is a very strong part of his life right now.
Despite problems with his vision, he still reads the Bible and the Book of Mormon on a regular basis.
Now that he's been given a second chance, Justin has a whole new focus.
"It matters what Heavenly Father wants," he said.