By Eric Dehm
She’s the cover model of the 2017 Body Issue of ESPN the Magazine, she’s looking forward to the 2018 paralympics, she’ll be a special guest at Grunt Fest 6 in Chicago Oct. 21st, and she plans to conquer the seven highest peaks on earth between now and 2019.
Life right now is pretty good for Kirstie Ennis now, but not that long ago the USMC veteran went through hell.
She deployed to Afghanistan twice during her six years in the Corps. On her second deployment as a helicopter door gunner, her bird went down and she suffered severe injuries to her face, spine, brain, shoulders and leg.
The leg injury would eventually lead to a below the knee amputation. A later MRSA infection led to an above the knee amputation.
“My dream growing up was to be a Marine, and so after my injuries, that whole dream was pretty much taken from me,” Ennis said during her appearance on ConnectingVets.com’s The Morning Briefing.
“And then losing my leg (during the second amputation) as high as I did. I thought the dream of being a Paraylmpian was over, yet again.”
Kirstie Ennis had every excuse to give up her dreams and aspirations, to let her anger fester, to pity herself, or all of those. Instead, she got over feeling sorry for herself and realized that despite her injuries and hardships, significant as they were, she was in fact one of the lucky ones and that she had work to do.
“I realized I was one of the ones that made it home,” Ennis said. “So it’d be really, really selfish of me to kind of throw my hands up and give up. I have a lot more life to live and quite frankly nobody owes me anything, I owe it to myself. With that being said, a lot of those families of the men and women that didn’t come home look to the guys and girls like me that did make it home.”
She says she accepts that responsibility and uses it as motivation to continue showing what our wounded warriors can do, including that trip to summit the world’s seven highest peaks, which begins when she travels to Nepal in a few days.
But Ennis says that even when you’ve got such big aspirations, you have to find time for fun—which is why she accepted an invitation from the Grunt Style team to join the festivities at Grunt Fest 6.
“I did not hesitate,” Ennis says. “It’s gonna be an amazing event. A lot of fun and a lot of like-minded, rowdy heroes and patriots alike coming out to have a great time.”
You can hear the full interview with Kirstie Ennis below. To download and listen later, click the share button and select “Download.”