Hero of the Week: CPL Todd Love
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.