SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Students from schools across Siouxland gathered at Bishop Heelan High School in the Fieldhouse for a presentation from the first Iraq War Veteran to qualify for the Paralympic games.
Melissa Stockwell spoke of her journey and motivation to students from Heelan High School, Siouxland Christian school, and South Sioux City middle school.
“We all have these obstacles that come into our life and a lot of these kids maybe they’ve had them maybe they haven’t if they haven’t they will,” Stockwell said, “So, I think knowing that it’s normal, it kind of normalizes the things that come into our life that we don’t expect and hopefully when that does happen they can be like ‘Oh, well, I heard Melissa’s story and she was able to overcome the loss of a leg and do these things,’ so maybe if they kind of think about that and it [will help] them get through whatever it is that comes their way.”
Stockwell served as a Second Lieutenant when a roadside bomb hit her vehicle, taking her leg. After qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics she competed in swimming and was the flag bearer for Team USA at the closing ceremonies.
She continues to compete in Paratriathlons and has won numerous medals and honors. She plans to continue to travel and work with her nonprofit organization and hasn’t decided what her next steps are as an athlete.
Stockwell served as Thursday night’s keynote speaker at the Siouxland Chamber Dinner.