By Doug Warner, NEWS 9

WEATHERFORD, Okla. -- Mary Akin takes her wedding vows to heart.

She was nominated as an Oklahoma Hero because she's held her family together after her husband, Lee Akin, was in a tragic bull riding accident.

Lee Akin was thrown off a bull March 8, 2007 and before he could escape the arena, the bull stepped on his head, crushing part of his skull.

"He was in ICU for seven and a half weeks," Mary Akin said. "We've had three or four doctors use the word 'miracle'."

Lee Akin is still a loving dad  and caring husband, but he now suffers from aphasia.  At times, he lacks the ability to produce or even comprehend everyday language.

"I'll never have the husband I married; the man that I married, I'll never have him again," Mary Akin said. "You know there's quite a few times I've cried. A lot of my girlfriends talk to their husbands about dreams, and I'm teaching mine the alphabet."

Friend Sherry Morgan and so many others across western Oklahoma have offered prayers and help. They said they are impressed by the couple's affection and devotion.

"It would have been easy for her to go, 'you know this isn't what I signed on for'," Morgan said.

Lee Akin is improving every day and said he's grateful to have his wife by his side.

"I know we'll get there eventually," he said. "She does so much. I love her so much. She's done awesome."