Attendees of this year’s Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo will hear the motivational words of American war hero Melissa Stockwell, who has dedicated her life to chasing remarkable accomplishments while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own.
Stockwell will speak at 3 p.m. Oct. 18, on the opening day of the Propane Expo, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
In 2002, Stockwell graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In March 2004, she deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. Three weeks later, a blast from a roadside bomb struck her Humvee, causing the loss of her left leg above the knee. After enduring numerous infections and surgeries, Stockwell medically retired from the Army. She is the first female to lose a limb in active combat.
Following Stockwell’s military career, athletics became a way of life. In April 2008, she became the first Iraq War veteran to qualify for the Paralympics, held in Beijing. She competed in three swimming events and was honored by her fellow athletes to carry the American flag in the closing ceremonies. After Beijing, Stockwell 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. She also completed her first Ironman.
On Sept. 11, 2016, Stockwell raced in honor of her fellow soldiers and their families at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and captured the bronze medal in triathlon. She finished fifth this year at the Tokyo Games.
Stockwell has completed the prosthetic practitioner program at Century College in Minnesota, where she learned to fit other amputees with artificial limbs. She is also a level 1 certified triathlon coach and co-founder of the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club, helping others with disabilities enjoy the sport of triathlon and embrace active living.
Stockwell has spoken at numerous Fortune 500 companies, including BP, Accenture, The Hartford, Deloitte, Microsoft, P&G and Chobani, and has been featured in media outlets like People, Sports Illustrated, the Chicago Tribune and a triathlon magazine cover story. Stockwell was also featured in the documentary “From Baghdad to Beijing,” which chronicled her and three other soldiers’ journeys from Baghdad to the Paralympics Games.