In the midst of his struggles after suffering a severe leg injury in Iraq, Heath Hobson experienced some upbeat moments, as well - and chief among them was the chance to connect with rock goddess Stevie Nicks.
Nicks, a solo star and member of the legendary band Fleetwood Mac, has been quietly making trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit wounded soldiers for several years, traveling under the radar, without an entourage or a team of photographers in her wake.
In 2007, while Hobson was recovering at Walter Reed with his wife Jodi at his side, Nicks surprised them both with a lengthy visit, a brand new iPod with more than 1,000 songs pre-loaded and a copy of her poem "Soldier's Angel," which would later become a song on her 2011 album, "In Your Dreams."
"The first time I met her was so personal," Hobson said. "It was awesome. She was just like a regular person in the hospital. It was great. We didn't even know she was there until about 10 minutes before, so there wasn't enough time to get worked up about it."
And they would meet again.
In 2011, the couple attended Nicks' joint concert with Rod Stewart at the TD Garden, and linked up with Nicks in her dressing room backstage, where she played the album version of "Soldier's Angel" for them before it was released and personally sang to the pair.
"It was crazy," Hobson said. "(Stevie) was super touched by it. It's for real, it's a legit feeling she has for seeing the wounded soldiers. That part of it was like, 'Wow, I'm so fortunate to have that moment.'"
Hobson said he plans to contact Nicks again in time, joking that he doesn't want to "overdo it." He said that meeting the down-to-earth star has been one of the most memorable parts of his journey.
"She's so humble about it," he said. "No one knows about that side of her unless they meet her."