The year was 2012 and Kirstie Ennis was in the midst of her second tour in Afghanistan when disaster struck. The military helicopter, which featured Ennis as the aerial gunner, suddenly went down. The crash resulted in serious damage to Ennis – fractured spine and broken. And after more than 40 total surgeries, Ennis had her left leg amputated.
Her injuries have failed to slow her down though, in fact, they’ve only made Ennis stronger. In the time since her second tour, she’s become an avid climber – scaling Mount Kilimanjaro just months after a surgical operation. Recently, the veteran has set her sights on snowboarding. Her first opportunity to tackle the sport came courtesy of the Disabled Sports USA organization a few years back. And now she is currently training to compete in the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The last few years have a been an emotional whirlwind for Ennis, but she has showcased twice through the media recently.
ESPN’s Body Issue
When ESPN’s annual Body Issue was released earlier this year, Ennis became a star. She courageously stripped down to show off her body, including her prosthetic leg. For the shoot, Ennis went high atop a mountain. This was nothing new for her as she had just climbed both Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. Ennis’ appearance in the magazine was an inspiration to those who suffered similar physical trauma.
Her New Home
Her hard work and determination paid off in more ways than one thanks to the gift she received just days ago: a new home. Building Homes For Heroes is responsible for constructing her three-bedroom haven in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The organization has been doing work for years, renovating homes for veterans donated by Chase Bank. The new home was designed with Ennis’ hobbies in mind, coming complete with cutting-edge kitchen appliances – cooking is one of her passions. The veteran now has a state-of-the-art residence as she looks to make another home for herself on the slopes of the Paralympics.