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Melissa Stockwell

Former U.S. Army Officer, American Two-Time Paralympian & Co-Founder of DARE2TRI

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Fee Range:
$15,000 - $25,000

Melissa Stockwell’s captivating personal story of overcoming grief and hardship leaves audiences simultaneously touched and motivated. Her keynote speeches inspire and remind attendees that there is always a silver lining and it’s never too late to grow and improve.

“I am thankful daily for those that have helped me live a life of sport. It builds confidence, it changes lives and as I compete and stand on podiums around the world I realize that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is so good.” –Melissa Stockwell

Featured Videos

Melissa Stockwell TEDxVail | Choose Your Story

Why Veteran Melissa Stockwell Competes in the Paralympi ...

Meet Team USA's Melissa Stockwell | 2016 Team USA Intro ...

Speaker Resources


After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2002, Melissa Stockwell was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army’s transportation corps. One month after being deployed to Iraq, in April 2004, she became the first female American soldier in history to lose a limb in active combat after her vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. She was later honored with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for her service. Four years later, she became the first Iraq War veteran to qualify for the Paralympic Games, competing in swimming at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics. She was selected to be the flag bearer for Team USA at the Beijing closing ceremonies.

Speech Topics

Hear and reflect on an inspiring message of perseverance and maintaining perspective in leadership and in life from of an American hero who has triumphed over personal tragedy to achieve greatness, World Champion status, and who has dedicated her life to chasing remarkable accomplishments while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own. Melissa Stockwell proudly wore the uniform of the United States Army, where she very nearly made the ultimate sacrifice for her country. Today, she proudly wears the uniform of Team USA as a World Champion athlete and Paralympic Medalist. Melissa shares her remarkable story, from the battlefields of Baghdad to the Paralympic Games, in an emotionally powerful presentation that will inspire you to see ability not disability, to maximize what you do have and forget about what you don’t, and to apply, as she details, “…the amazing power of choice.”

After 9/11, she was deployed to Iraq as a commissioned Army officer, where she suffered the injury that would change her life forever. After a long and challenging recovery at Walter Reed Hospital, she exercised her power of choice to channel her energy into competition, winning three Paratriathlon World Championships and medaling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Her journey weaves service to her country and the heartache of a painful divorce along with founding a successful nonprofit, launching a career in prosthetics, finding new love, and becoming a mother to two children. Along the way, she meets all the living American presidents and inspires others with disabilities—through a story that is riveting, moving, and an inspiration for anyone who would choose to live their life to the fullest.


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  • “Melissa Inspired our team today during these unsettling times. She shared her personal & intimate story of resilience, moving forward, love of family, and the critical aspect of team work. She ignited the flame inside all of us and helped influence a mindset of positive thinking, reflection on life and the importance of being a good teammate.”

  • “Thank you so much for helping coordinate the Veterans Day speaking engagement with Melissa. What an incredible story and inspiration! [Our company] is absolutely abuzz with glowing reviews and the Veterans Network was super proud to be able to showcase such a cool event. Her message really struck a chord especially in these uncertain times. She was the perfect fit.”