By Megan Boatwright
Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter

TRENTON, GA  (WRCB) -  For hours, a North Georgia family didn't know if their hero was dead or alive, but Lieutenant Bobby Woods is an Army Ranger and he's tough.

Lieutenant Woods is back on American soil, and it's a miracle he's alive.  He was shot in the head in Afghanistan, and nursed his own wounds until he could make it to a hospital.

Woods took a bullet above his left eye.  It lodged in his temple.  He may suffer speech impairment and some vision loss, but doctors are optimistic about his recovery.  That's just one of many things that makes the soldier's story so miraculous.

Imagine being shot in the head, wrapping the wound and driving yourself to the hospital.  That's exactly what's earned First Lieutenant Bobby Woods the nickname, 'Man of Steel'.

"You just start praying in that moment," says Lt. Woods's aunt Lynn Buffington.  "Lord, please protect and keep you hand on this child." 

Lieutenant Woods's family learned he'd been shot Sunday morning.  It was five hours before they knew if he was dead or alive.

"For those hours of not knowing, it was probably some of the worst of our life.  I know it was for his mom and dad," Buffington says, recalling the emotions of that day.

Woods is now recovering in Maryland.  Thursday he underwent eight hours of brain surgery, his fourth surgery so far.  His family is now at his side.

"Thank God for cell phones and Facebook," says Nadine Woods, Lt. Woods's mother.  "They have enabled more prayer to be sent up by more people."

Nadine Woods is with her son in Maryland, and spoke to Channel 3 by phone.  The mother says she hasn't stopped praying.  In those first hours she got a network of support behind her.

"I literally called my brother while he was having church," says Nadine Woods.  Her brother is the pastor at Slygo Baptist Church in Trenton.  While that congregation was praying, so was Bobby's aunt."

"We went from unknown Sunday, to mid-Tuesday and we knew things were much better," says Buffington. 

There's yet another small miracle.  Woods will heal under a military program called "The Wounded Warrior Project," which his father, Retired Army Brigadier General Robert Woods, helped create.

"That's the very program our son is now in," says Nadine.  "What satisfaction to know how incredibly the Army handles the wounded and their family." 

Woods recovery will likely take two years.  He'll spend the next two months in Maryland before he's transferred to a hospitals in Tampa and Atlanta.

On Wednesday Lt. Bobby Woods was awarded the Purple Heart.