Iraq vet serves country as Paralympics athlete

January 22, 2009 1:23:42 PM PST
At the age of 28, Melissa Stockwell has made a name for herself as the first female amputee in Iraq. She was also the first Iraq vet to qualify for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. And, this is just the beginning.

Spring of 2004, three weeks after being deployed, Army 1st Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell lost her leg, when her humvee was hit by roadside bomb in Baghdad.

Stockwell has never regretted serving her country.

"I would go back and do it again. I'm so proud to say I've worn our uniform," said Stockwell.

Life in the military was always Stockwell's dream.

"Growing up I loved the American Flag it was all over my room and my bedspread and my wallet and when I learned that being in the Army and wearing the uniform represented the colors and the freedoms that we have I knew immediately that what I wanted to do," said Stockwell.

When she returned to the states, she found a new career-- making prosthetics.

" You get to fit patients with legs and you get to see them take their first steps again so at the time I looked over and though you know I think this is something I might want to do" 3:08:24.

After graduating from school, she came to Chicago's Scheck and Siress where she met David Rotter.

" We were introduced because she wanted to do her residency here and being an active amputee she came to me," said Rotter.

"We've made walking legs, we've made running legs, we have biking legs, we have swimming legs and the list will continue just depending on what Melissa wants to do," said Rotter.

The most inspiring prosthetic is the American flag.

"She really, really loves to have prosthesis adorned with anything related to the American theme in it's a wonderful thing," said

In addition to finding another career, Stockwell started swimming.

"Because it was really easy to get into the pool. I didn't have to wear a prosthetic leg," said Stockwell. "Then I learned about the Paralympics and I knew immediately it was something i wanted to do to wear the USA uniform and represent the U.S. again."

Stockwell did not win a medal at the Paralympics, but has continued to make a name for herself as an athlete.

" When I first came back from Beijing I wasn't sure if I was going to try for 2012 in London but I've decided that's definitely, I'm going to give it a shot," said Stockwell.

Stockwell continues to work with veterans organizations and hold motivational speaking engagements. .