The Power of Choice: My Journey from Wounded Warrior to World Champion

The Power of Choice: My Journey from Wounded Warrior to World Champion

by Melissa Stockwell


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On April 13, 2004, Melissa Stockwell lost her leg to an IED during a routine patrol in Iraq, making her the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War. This was just the beginning of her inspiring story of perseverance and triumph.

“I have had the chance to meet Melissa and hear her amazing story in person. In this book, Melissa shares insight on how she became a warrior and fought back to become the champion she is today. She is a great example of perseverance in the face of what appears to be insurmountable hurdles. Her love of country is strong and carries through her joining the military and representing Team USA in the Paralympic Games. A true champion in many ways.”—Jackie Joyner Kersee

“Melissa’s story of strength and courage is not only incredibly moving, it is a must-read for anyone facing any challenge. Clearly her passion for country and sport drives every one of her accomplishments. From a young gymnast like I was, to representing the United States in Paratriathlon, Melissa inspires us all with her story of overcoming unimaginable adversity and what it truly means to be unstoppable.”—Shannon Miller

Melissa Stockwell has been a restless force of nature from the time she was a little girl speeding around her neighborhood on her bike, to her tumbles and spills as a high-level gymnast and Olympic hopeful, to joining the ROTC in college as an outlet for her patriotism and love of America.

After 9/11, she was deployed to Iraq as a commissioned Army officer, where she suffered the injury that would change her life forever. After a long and challenging recovery at Walter Reed Hospital, she exercised her power of choice to channel her energy into competition, winning three Paratriathlon World Championships and medaling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Her journey weaves service to her country and the heartache of a painful divorce along with founding a successful nonprofit, launching a career in prosthetics, finding new love, and becoming a mother to two children. Along the way, she meets all the living American presidents and inspires others with disabilities—through a story that is riveting, moving, and an inspiration for anyone who would choose to live their life to the fullest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781642935219
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publication date: 08/04/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 261,495
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Born a patriot, Melissa Stockwell was the first female to lose a limb in active combat when a roadside bomb exploded under her vehicle while serving in Iraq. She considered herself one of the lucky ones, as she only lost her left leg and not her life. After receiving both a purple heart and a bronze star, she vowed to live her life for those who had given the ultimate sacrifice. After learning to walk again, Melissa went on to proudly become a two-time Paralympian, a three-time World Champion, and a Paralympic bronze medalist. She has received a number of accolades for her athletic success and has jaw-dropping moments, such as standing in a room with five presidents, sharing a dance with George W. Bush, and more. Melissa co-founded a nonprofit organization called Dare2tri which helps other athletes with physical disabilities get into the sport of triathlon. She also travels the world, sharing her story in hopes to inspire others and leave them with the notion that they have the power of choice regardless of what obstacles come their way. Her favorite job is being a mother to her two young kids, Dallas and Millie, and a wife to her husband, Brian. Melissa is a patriot in the truest sense and proves—time and time again—that we can all come out better on the other side of any challenge that comes our way.

Table of Contents

Prologue: April 13, 2004 1

Chapter 1 Sweet Thunder 4

Chapter 2 Finding My Limits and Breaking Through Them 11

Chapter 3 Choosing ROTC 21

Chapter 4 The Twin Towers Fall 27

Chapter 5 Learning to Live Without Regrets 36

Chapter 6 The Call of Duty 43

Chapter 7 Deployment 49

Chapter 8 Wolfpack 58

Chapter 9 A Patriot with Protection 64

Chapter 10 Wounded Soldier 71

Chapter 11 On the Right Foot 78

Chapter 12 Back on Home Soil 91

Chapter 13 First Steps: Pride, Patriotism, Country Music 97

Chapter 14 Finding a New Purpose 105

Chapter 15 Back in the Water 112

Chapter 16 On the Mountaintop 117

Chapter 17 Make the Most of a Second Chance 121

Chapter 18 Competing Against Myself 129

Chapter 19 It Is What It Is 136

Chapter 20 Finding Something Greater than Myself 143

Chapter 21 Beijing 2008 152

Chapter 22 Picking Up the Pieces 164

Chapter 23 Shot in the Heart 172

Chapter 24 Dare2Tri 180

Chapter 25 Commander-in-Chief 189

Chapter 26 Iron Woman 196

Chapter 27 The Mommy Road to Rio 204

Chapter 28 On Top of the World 216

Chapter 29 Never Say Never 228

Epilogue: My Life Today 236

Afterword 239

Acknowledgments 243

About the Author 245

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