A former soldier who became one of the first people in the country to have a full face transplant is now breaking his silence, talking about his recovery.
In 2011, doctors at Brigham and Women's performed the surgery on Mitch Hunter.
Now, four-and-a-half years after that groundbreaking surgery was performed, Hunter has a full-time job and isn't ashamed to go out in public with his son.
His face was badly burned in the process of rescuing a woman from a car accident.
But after his face transplant, Hunter said he feels like his own life has been rescued.
"People tell me that I'm fortunate that I don't remember because it's probably a lot of pain,” he said.
At 35, Hunter is doing things he would have never thought possible after a car accident in North Carolina, 15 years ago.
The car he was in slammed into an electrical pole and hunter pushed a woman to safety, but he wasn't as fortunate.
He took a zap of 10,000 volts for nearly five minutes in a shock that took his leg and burned his face.
He had facial work, but it made life difficult.
"Imagine walking into a room and like falling, and everybody noticing. That's how it was every time I walked in a room because of the way my face looked,” he said.
Hunter calls the 2011 surgery a gift that has forever altered his life.
"When I touch the beard I can also feel the sensation under the skin,” he said.
The sensation isn't only under his beard, Hunter can feel his entire face.
"Hot, cold, pain, tickle, rubbing my beard, someone kissing my face. I can feel everything,” he said.
These feelings are much better than the depression he felt after the crash.
"I think it's an amazing journey. I mean it's been a hard journey,” he said.
Hunter's medical treatments aren't over. He still travels here to Massachusetts twice a year to get work done.
But after years of silence, his message to others is “don't stay quiet” because, he said, considering how life can change in an instant, it's important to tell people you love them anytime you have the opportunity.