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Grand Haven veteran and Paralympian wins award

Posted at 10:34 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 22:34:30-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Just in time for Veterans Day, Grand Haven native Melissa Stockwell is being recognized for her perseverance.

Stockwell lost her left leg in Iraq on April 13, 2004.

“It was the last day I really stood on my own two feet,” Stockwell said.

After that she got to work. Gaining new confidence through a prosthetic leg, and leaning on her athleticism, Stockwell became a Paralympian.

She competed in Beijing in 2008, where she swam an event. In 2016, she took bronze for the triathlon in Rio de Janeiro.

Full interview with Grand Haven native and veteran Melissa Stockwell

“It was all about perspective. That helped me accept the loss of the leg, and move on. And propelled me into the life I have now,” Stockwell said.

One setback might have changed Stockwell's perspective, however. While training for the 2020 Tokyo games, she broke her back.

But Stockwell competed anyway. That's why Angel City Sports is honoring the veteran with the Angela Madsen Award. Madsen was a veteran and Paralympian who died trying to row across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California.

“A lot of times we think about our bad days. But I can assure almost everyone that’s watching this. But there are people around the world who would love to have our bad days," Stockwell said.

READ MORE: West Michigan veteran and Paralympian to receive Angela Madsen Courage Award

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