By November, Reggie was on his way to Iraq. He arrived during a turbulent period, with the insurgency raging. Convoys regularly came under attack. The trucks were not armored.
"He didn't go over there to fight a war. He went over there because [KBR] said, 'You'll have armed guards,' " Linda said. "They promised big money. 'You'll be protected, no problem.' "
On April 9, 2004, Reggie Lane and a friend, Jason Hurd, rolled out of a base south of Baghdad to deliver fuel to Balad, north of the city. The convoy was outside Baghdad when gunfire rang out. Hurd saw Reggie's truck careen to the side of the road.
Hurd pulled over. A rocket-propelled grenade had shattered the windshield. Reggie was lying face-up on the shoulder of the road. His right arm was gone below the elbow. His face was covered in shrapnel wounds. He was drenched in blood.
The rest of the convoy moved ahead, apparently oblivious. Hurd fumbled with Reggie's arm, trying to apply a tourniquet. Then a group of military vehicles pulled over to help.
Soldiers helped stabilize Lane, who shuddered awake and asked for water. An Army helicopter evacuated him to a U.S. base, where he was put on an emergency flight to Germany.
Linda got the news from a military doctor. A few days later, Reggie called. He told her not to worry.
"I still got one arm left to hug you with," he said.
It was the last conversation she would have with her husband.
Two days later, another military doctor in Germany called Linda, asking permission to perform an emergency tracheotomy on Reggie. A blood clot had dislodged, blocking the flow of blood to his brain.
"My head is spinning. I'm trying to digest what they're telling me," Linda said. "I'm deciding this long-distance by phone, and it's someone I love."
Ten days after the attack, Reggie Lane was on a flight back to the U.S., headed to a Houston hospital. KBR paid to have Linda meet her husband in Texas.
She was unprepared for the sight. A raw, red stump was all that remained of his right arm. There was a hole in his throat. She could see his intestines, which were left exposed to aid in cleaning out shrapnel. His body was swollen and purple. He was unresponsive, his pupils mere pinpoints.
Over the next nine months, Linda lived out of a hotel in downtown Houston. She became her husband's advocate, navigating a complex medical world with little guidance.
"It was a lot of one foot in front of the other. I was pretty devastated," she said.
Slowly, Lane's condition improved. Toward the end of his hospital stay, he could respond to questions. He would say: "Love Linda." He was trying to stand up with help.
"By the time he left, he was interacting, communicating," said Dr. Sunil Kothari, a neurosurgeon who coordinated Reggie's care at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Memorial Hermann in Houston, one of the country's top rehabilitation hospitals for brain injury. "Near the end, he was beginning to answer questions, starting to vocalize."
In January 2005, doctors cleared Reggie for release. He was going home.
Grants Pass had a handful of nursing homes. They provided physical and speech therapy, but Linda was dissatisfied with the care. She confronted workers at one home, leading to Reggie's discharge. He returned to a hospital.
Linda was dealing with her own health problems. Her weight ballooned. She was admitted to the hospital repeatedly with breathing difficulties.
As Linda searched for a home for her husband, she got into a dispute with American International Group Inc., the insurance carrier for KBR. Linda wanted her husband close to home. She said AIG insisted that he go to a facility in Portland, where care was less expensive than in the hospital.
Troops injured in Iraq are guaranteed care at Veterans Administration facilities. In contrast, contract workers depend on worker's compensation insurance paid for by the federal government under the Defense Base Act. They often must fight with insurers to get medical bills paid.
Linda hired a lawyer, and AIG relented, allowing Reggie to be placed in an adult foster care home near Grants Pass.
The lawyer, Roger Hawkins of Los Angeles, said it was the least Reggie deserved.
"You look in his eyes and you see that somewhere, he realizes what is going on," Hawkins said. "He's sitting there with his arm missing and knowing that he's never going to get better."
AIG and KBR declined to comment on the case.
Reggie's mental state had gradually declined since he'd left Houston. Before, he spoke. Now he descended into long silences broken only by grunts.
Told of Lane's condition, Kothari, who treated him in Houston, expressed concern.
"Decline is not typical," Kothari said. "If someone goes to a nursing facility, if they happen not to get stimuli, it means the brain could not heal as well as it would otherwise."