by David Borzo
Des Moines welcomes a highly decorated and celebrated hero to the Smart Talk Connected Conversations on Tuesday April 17th: Melissa Stockwell. Not a household name perhaps? She is an extraordinary woman nonetheless – and a hero for our times. Now I know that the word “hero” can be bandied about pretty easily these days, from rock stars to million dollar athletes, but if ever there was a true hero, Melissa fits the bill.
In 2004 she was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army on a routine convoy through Baghdad, when her HUMVEE was hit by a roadside bomb. The blast took off her left leg, and she started a new life as an above-the-knee amputee. Melissa underwent multiple surgeries and therapies over a year-long rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her experiences will be shared at this special evening, and we’re really looking forward to April 17th at the Des Moines Civic Center.
Melissa’s story of that new life had a sad beginning, but she has an inspiring story to share. Since her recovery she has participated in countless marathons and triathlons, and won the 2010 world championship in the Para triathlon competition. In Para triathlon competition, athletes participate in smaller distances than the Olympic measurements: 750m for swimming; 20km for Cycling and 5km in the running portion.
Melissa hasn’t stopped moving and shaking her world and the world of so many others since her life-changing experience. She has inspired millions with her courage and dedication to moving ahead in life, and she has earned so many awards and medals that we can’t list them all here. And she works hard for other’s benefit, like co-founding “Dare2tri.” Dare2tri is a Para triathlon club that serves youth, adults and injured service members who have suffered a physical disability such as amputation, spinal cord injury, stroke, Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, visual impairments or blindness. Dare2tri is a powerful statement of embracing what you have, and making it work for you.
We’re looking forward to learning more about the personal triumphs and tragedies behind Mellissa’s powerful life experiences, and we’re anticipating a powerful connection!