It’s not every day that a family photo sweeps across the internet. However, a photo posted to Facebook of Kelly Cottle and her husband Jesse Cottle is one that deserves it, as their story should be told. In the photo, Kelly carries her husband, a double-amputee, on her back.
Jesse lost his legs in 2009, while serving in the Marines after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He met Kelly at a swim meet during his recovery, while learning to use his prosthetic legs. “If I hadn’t stepped on that IED,” Jesse says to ABC News, “I wouldn’t have met her.” Even though he was permanently injured, he wouldn’t change the events.
Kelly admits you forget the fact that he lost his legs eventually, explaining, “His personality and who he is just outweighs his injuries by so much.”
The picture came about entirely by chance. The couple were visiting Kelly’s family in Idaho and having a family portrait taken. Kelly was carrying Jesse back to his legs after photos were taken in the water when a photographer took the shot.
“The photo really says it all,” Jesse says. “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.”
They were married in August 2012.