INOLA, Okla. -- An Oklahoma man is recovering after his first surgery to mend an injury from a family celebration that went terribly wrong.
He was critically injured after a firework exploded, blowing away the left side of his face in July.
Last Friday, that young man, Taron Pounds, underwent the first of many surgeries to repair his face.
Following the accident, he spent three weeks in a coma, a few weeks at home and is now back in the hospital recovering from this first major surgery.
His family doesn't know exactly what happened with the firework; what they do know is Taron is lucky to be alive.
"All I saw was a puff of smoke and I heard someone scream, 'Get ice,'" his mom Tammy Cauthron said. "I knew immediately it was Taron."
She said, "The left side of his face was peeled back and parts missing. I literally identified my son by his fraternity tatoo."
The bones in Taron's left cheek and nose were gone, the roof of his mouth missing necessary soft tissue and his eye was severely damaged.
David Cauthron, Taron's step dad, said, "Dad's fix stuff, that's what dad's do, and dad can't fix this."
The process of healing has begun; last Friday Taron underwent a 22-hour surgery.
In this first of many surgeries doctors harvested bone and veins from his leg to reconstruct a portion of what doctors call his mid-face.
OU Medical Center's Dr. Jose Sanclement said, "What we do is we cut small segments and try to fit it as best, sort of like a puzzle."
Taron's face is much different now compared to pictures of him before the accident but his family said his personality hasn't changed.
They tell us they will make it through together.
Tammy said, "Taron has accepted that he's not ever going to be what you see in this picture again, inside or out."
Doctors said Taron will likely be able to go home within the next couple of weeks as he continues to heal.
His next surgery could take place in about two months.