Melissa Stockwell: Choose Your Story
- First female American solider to lose a limb in active combat in Iraq
- U.S. Army Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient
- First Iraq War Veteran to compete at the Paralympic Games becoming a 3-Time Paratriathlon World Champion & 2-Time Paralympian
- Inspires her audiences to embrace change and find motivation in adversity while sharing her remarkable journey of leadership, perseverance, gratitude and competitive success
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At first glance Melissa Stockwell may appear to be the quintessential Mid-Western All-American girl, 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.
In 2002, Melissa graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. In March 2004, she deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. Just three weeks later, a blast from a roadside bomb struck Melissa’s Humvee causing the loss of her left leg above the knee. After enduring numerous infections and surgeries, Melissa was medically retired from the Army. She is the first female soldier to ever lose a limb in active combat and has been awarded both The Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.
Following her accident, sport became the road to recovery for Melissa. In April of 2008, she became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Beijing Paralympics. She competed in three swimming events and was honored by her fellow Team USA athletes to be selected to carry the American flag in the closing ceremony. After Beijing, Melissa turned to the sport of Paratriathlon and is now a three-time World Champion. She was named USA Triathlon’s female Paratriathlete of the Year for two consecutive years and was twice nominated for an ESPY award.
On September 11, 2016, at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Melissa 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.
Melissa has shared her remarkable story, and the inspiring insights she has uncovered along the way, to standing ovations across the country for Fortune 500 companies, military bases, professional organizations, charities, government events, and countless schools. Earlier this year she was the breakout star of TEDx Vail 2016.
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Melissa’s story inspires and drives home an important message fitting for any audience: success is driven by focusing on what you do have as opposed to what you don’t. What Melissa has already accomplished in her life is remarkable and it is clear her best is yet to come.
We knew Melissa's story would be inspirational. What blew us away was the power with which she told her story -- with a perfect mix of humility, humor, and the most positive spirit I've ever had the opportunity to witness. If you're looking for someone who can relate while providing perspective, challenge and inspire while being humble, and leave a lasting message around resilience and a winning attitude, you should reach out to Melissa immediately! She touched every member of our organization both professionally and personally, and left us wanting to be better in every aspect of our lives.
We were so happy to have Melissa speak at our Sales and Marketing Offsite. There was not a dry eye in the audience and she left us all feeling inspired, motivated and incredibly proud to have her on our team.