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Army Veteran and Paralympian Traces Her Journey From Wounded Warrior to Champion

For a special Memorial Day event, U.S. Army veteran Melissa Stockwell spoke with EHS students and families about her journey from wounded warrior to three-time world champion in the Paralympics.

Deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, in 2004, Stockwell lost most of her left leg when the blast from a roadside bomb struck her Humvee. Yet within a few years, she was competing in the Paralympics and winning gold in the Paratriathlon. She told the audience over a videoconference the story of her rehabilitation and her acceptance of a life dramatically different than what she had planned. “I chose to live my life the way I wanted to live it,” she said.

She credited her success to perseverance and heart but also told the students never to accept limits to their dreams. “We are all capable of so much more than we think we can do,” she said. “How do you dig deep into the pocket of potential? You start by believing that you can.”

In addition to competing, Stockwell also is a coach and co-founder of the Dare2tri Paratriathlon club. Dare2tri serves all ability levels of youth, adults, and injured service members who have a physical disability such as amputation, spinal cord injury, stroke, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and those with visual impairments and blindness.

Stockwell's book "The Power of Choice" will be released this summer.