In 2004, First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell woke up in a Baghdad ER after an IED strike, struggling to fight off infections and ultimately losing her left leg. In just 52 days, she took her first steps on her prosthetic leg. In just four years, she represented the United States in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, carrying the American flag in the closing ceremonies.

Since debuting in Beijing, Stockwell has earned three Paratriathlon World Champion titles and was named USAT Paratriathlete of the Year for two consecutive years. She was the 2016 Paralympic Bronze Medalist and is currently training to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Stockwell also dedicates her time to helping other athletes with disabilities realize what they are capable of and experience the same thrill of competing. As a mother, veteran, and award-winning athlete, Stockwell’s story of perseverance and determination is an inspiration to all.

If you want to bring Stockwell and her message of resilience to your next event, contact AAE for fees and availability.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell celebrates after winning her third World Paratriathlon title at the World Triathlon in Auckland, New Zealand.

Stockwell’s achievements stretch far beyond any olympic-sized pool or triathlon course. She was awarded both the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart after her time as a first lieutenant in the Iraq War. She was also recognized as the first female to ever lose a limb in active combat. Having previously served on the board of directors of the Wounded Warrior Project, Stockwell enjoys giving back to the military and veteran community.


Best-selling authors, triumphant Paralympic athletes, and successful business leaders, these featured veterans are powerful motivational speakers who inspire audiences around the world. With speaking topics varying from teamwork and teambuilding to inspirational leadership and achieving success in the face of adversity, veterans are popular options for a wide variety of events. 

View List of Veterans

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