The America's Got Talent auditions in Austin, Texas that aired on Monday introduced the country to Timothy Michael Poe, an ex-military man who suffered a brain injury in Afghanistan after a grenade blast and has become an inspirational country singer.
Poe, 35, of San Antonio, suffers from a stutter as a result of a grenade-related injury while he was deployed in 2009. The 14-year veteran started singing (to help his stutter) after his speech pathologist suggested it as therapy.
In a video detailing Poe's backstory, the aspiring country singer said he volunteered to go out and clear buildings and help rescue wounded people. That's when a man with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher opened fire.
I saw it coming down and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yell, 'Grenade!,' and the blast had hit me, Poe recounted.
Timothy Michael Poe said he thought his life was over at that moment.
When I was lying there, I thought that I was never going to be able to see my daughter walk down the aisle or throw the baseball with my son again or be able to hold them and see them. I didn't want my life to be over, 'cause there's so much to do that I would never be able to do.
Poe's path to the America's Got Talent stage was perhaps the most moving part of his story.
If Poe hadn't been injured, he said he might never have discovered his singing voice.
I didn't know I could really sing until my speech pathologist told me that to help my stutter, she said to sing in the shower, Poe told the America's Got Talent judges in the episode that aired Monday night. So that's what I did.
Poe said it was his wife who pushed him to audition for America's Got Talent. He wowed the judges with his rendition of Garth Brooks' If Tomorrow Never Comes.
Everything about you is amazing. I have to say, you, sir, are a phenomenal talent, said judge, Howie Mandel.
You have a really rich, beautiful tone to your voice. You bring people in. The song you chose was perfect for your voice, judge, Sharon Osbourne, raved.
What I like about you is that when you sing, you're not pushing it, judge, Howard Stern, said. You didn't feel like you had to come out here and do all kinds of vocal tricks and all that kind of stuff. And I was moved by your performance, and I thought you did a good job.