Hero of the Week: CPL Todd Love

Updated: September 3, 2012

By Mr. Twisted

Have you ever been sitting on the couch, thinking about working out, but then decided not to because of all the aches and pains in your body? Have you ever looked at some of those obstacle course races that are all the rage now and thought: yeah, that would be cool, but I’m so out of shape and beat up and….and….and….?

I am guilty of doing that very thing. Then I come across stories like the one of Corporal Todd Love. CPL Love was a Recon Marine in Afghanistan who, on a patrol in August of 2010, stepped on an IED and subsequently lost both his legs and his left arm. The blast was strong enough to throw him nearly 30 feet and knock him unconscious; but when he was awoken by the medic, his first words were “do I still have my penis?”

While clearly a man among men simply to survive something like that, CPL Love’s story doesn’t come close to ending there. On August 25, Love completed The Spartan Race – a 10.5 mile, mud-filled obstacle course – with 8 of his friends, making up Team X.T.R.E.M.E. And they did it wearing gas masks.

Events like the Spartan Race are exhausting for people who are in shape. Just running 10 miles is pretty tiring – throwing 75 obstacles in the middle of it would tax every muscle in one’s body and give a few bumps, bruises, scrapes, and cuts to go along with the fatigue. Add a gas mask on top of that and it’s an entirely new level of challenge. But Love did all that without his legs and with only one arm. His belief is that he can do anything he set his mind to, and with a display such as that, it’s tough to argue with him.

What makes him even more of a badass is that this wasn’t a one-time thing for CPL Love. He isn’t going to sit back and relax now that he has completed a tough race. He also goes sky diving. And he skis. And plays the piano.

Oh, and he wrestles alligators.

I try not to throw out terms like “hero” or “inspirational” flippantly; those are words that should be applied with great thought so as not to wear out the power of what they represent. This is a case, however, where those expressions seem almost inadequate. Not simply because of what he has accomplished in terms of extreme sports or activities, but because of his attitude and heart regarding his story and his place in the fight.

In a video of CPL Love telling his story, he talks about how thankful he is that his friends saved his life, and how much they mean to him. He told them how much he owed them, and they responded by telling him that they were grateful for him, and that if it hadn’t been him that got hit, it could have been anyone of them. He simply says, in response, “I’m glad that I could be that buffer for them. I’m glad it was me and not them.”

CPL Todd Love, you are a hero, and an inspiration to all of us. Keep fighting and keep pushing it. We are grateful for men like you in that you remind us that there are no excuses – we must get up and get after what we want to fight for – we must earn it.





  1. Cecilio Mendez

    September 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

    There are a few, very few, things that need to earned. “Respect” tops the list for me. Cpl Love has earned my respect – in spades! I just wonder what would Cpl Love would do, if he can get his hand close to one of the douche-bags posers who tarnish the Armed Forces uniforms with their lies…

  2. Bat

    September 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

    That’s dam’ awesome. This man’s middle name ought to be “Victory!”

    • Chuck

      September 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Absolutely, Bat! In fact, the 8 Warriors competing in gas masks supporting Todd Love each have a “call sign” sewn onto their sleeves that serves as their names while they are in masks. Todd’s was “Sacrifice.” That’s the call sign of each Wounded Warrior that is honored by Team X-TREME in each extreme event in which they participate.

  3. Jose Sanchez

    September 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I am truly inspired

  4. Paul Duray

    September 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    My teammates and I saw Team X-T.R.E.M.E. surge off the start line in an earlier heat. Everyone in that crowd knew they were witnessing something truly special. Later in the race, we caught up to these guys and were absolutely humbled by what we saw. They all embodied that phrase, “deeds not words”, and made us thankful we were lucky enough to feel pain in our limbs when some of these Warriors had no limbs at all. These guys weren’t looking for pity; they were looking for challenges. What is the takeaway here? You get one life, so get out there and LIVE it.

    • Mr. Twisted

      September 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm


      Thanks, Paul.

  5. Heidi Young

    September 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Truly an amazing man and hero!

  6. David Tompkins

    September 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Marine you are a unbelievable bad ass man. Wow!!!!!!! Im a Recon Ranger from 1988-1992 and you put me to shame man!!!!!!! HOOOAAHHHHH !!!!!

  7. Cathy

    September 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    My 8 year old son was whining that his homework was too tough tonight. I showed him the pictures of CPL Love and told my son his story. His eyes got the size of saucers, and he immediately started his assignment in earnest. When he was done, he said, “Mommy, I will never have to be as tough as that man. My homework is nothing compared to how tough he is. He is my new hero forever.” CPL Love, you are my hero too, not just because you motivated an 8 year old, but because you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. We are forever indebted to you.

  8. Patty Ann

    October 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Hi! Todd what an inspiration you are, God bless you may we all be as brave and courageous as you
    Sincerely Patty

  9. Terry Pepper

    January 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    i would not be the 1 to deny him any benifits as a vet .

  10. Peter D

    February 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Truly inspiring story. I had read about him and his team before. They are great inspirations for those moments you are feeling a bit down on yourself.

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