At first glance, Melissa Stockwell may appear to be the quintessential Mid-western All-American mom, but she is far more. She is an American war hero who has triumphed over personal tragedy to achieve greatness, World Champion status, and she has dedicated her life to chasing remarkable accomplishments while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own.
Stockwell graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. She deployed to Baghdad, Iraq where a blast from a roadside bomb struck her Humvee, causing the loss of her left leg above the knee. After enduring numerous infections and surgeries, Stockwell was medically retired from the Army. She is the first female soldier to ever loose a limb in active combat and has been awarded both The Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.
Following her accident, sports become the road to recovery for Stockwell. In 2008, she became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Beijing Paralympics where she was honored by her fellow Team USA athletes to be the flag bearer in the Closing Ceremony. After Beijing, Stockwell turned to the sport of Paratriathlon and is now a three-time World Champion.
On September 11, 2016, at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Stockwell raced in honor of her fellow soldiers and their families who had given the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting America. After a grueling race, the day ended on the podium, as the newly crowned Paralympic Bronze Medalist.
Six weeks before the 2021 Paralympics, Stockwell broker her back in a training accident, derailing her hopes of winning a gold medal. Nevertheless, despite the pain, she managed to compete at the Paralympic Games, finishing 5th. She is currently training for one more shot at a Paralympic Gold Medal at the Paris Games in 2024.
Stockwell has shared her remarkable story, and the inspiring insights she has uncovered along the way, to standing ovations across the country for Fortune 500s, military bases, professional organizations, charities, government events and countless schools.
The Power of Choice
Hear and reflect on an inspiring message of perseverance and maintaining perspective in leadership and in life from of an American hero who has triumphed over personal tragedy to achieve greatness, World Champion status, and who has dedicated her life to chasing remarkable accomplishments while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own. Melissa Stockwell proudly wore the uniform of the United States Army, where she very nearly made the ultimate sacrifice for her country. Today, she proudly wears the uniform of Team USA as a World Champion athlete and Paralympic Medalist. Melissa shares her remarkable story, from the battlefields of Baghdad to the Paralympic Games, in an emotionally powerful presentation that will inspire you to see ability not disability, to maximize what you do have and forget about what you don’t, and to apply, as she details, “…the amazing power of choice.”
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