Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Viral Photo: Wife Carries Double-Amputee Husband On Her Back

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

Here's your feel-good photo of the day: A woman giving her husband a piggyback ride. He just happens to be a double amputee who lost his legs in Afghanistan.

Post by ShutterHappy Photography.

Jesse Cottle, 28, is a Marine whose legs were amputated after stepping on an IED in 2009. He doesn't regret the loss of his legs, as he tells ABC News, because if he hadn't been getting used to his new prosthetics at a San Diego swim meet, he never would have met his future wife, Kelly, 24, whom he marred in August of last year.

The photo that's since gotten more than 9,000 likes and been shared more than 1500 times on Facebook, was taken in Boise, Idaho where they were visiting Kelly's family and decided to have a family portrait taken.

Support for LAist comes from

"Someone had suggested taking photos in the water," said Kelly. "I was carrying Jesse back to his legs, and the photographer was like, 'Oh we'll get a couple of shots of you together.' It wasn't planned or anything."

"The photo really says it all," says Jesse Cottle "I actually look at it very much as a symbol for our whole relationship in general. She's physically carrying me, but there's times where she's carrying me emotionally. It's a perfect representation of who Kelly is."

The photographer, Sarah Ledford, posted the picture to her Facebook page, where it's drawn hundreds of comments thanking Cottle for his service.

"It's an amazingly inspiring story that has touched the lives of many Americans," Ledford told ABC News. "Jesse is not a hero for stepping on an IED, he's a hero because of the way he has handled what was handed to him and how he chooses to continue to conduct his life with his positive attitude."

Marine Who Lost Leg In Afghanistan Now Hot Underwear Model