Marine's wedding pictures gain attention online
UNDATED (WHDH) -- Staff sergeant Jesse Cottle lost his legs after stepping on a mine in Afghanistan in 2009 and now, wedding pictures showing the impact of the explosion are making a splash online.
"I remember most everything, I was awake the whole time,” the former Marine said.
The explosion that changed Staff Sergeant Cottle's world forever was caught on camera, but he’s keeping his head up through his physical therapy and into his blossoming relationship.
"It was tough and it is tough in general, but I just kind of always had the attitude that it's really tough now but things will just be okay, and I had my family around me I had good friends and basically just my faith really helped me to carry me through and I was lucky to be able to go through the tough recovery, and then still live my life, and meet my beautiful wife,” Cottle said.
He met Kelly during his recovery; she was swimming for Boise State University at the time.
"I just remember being very intrigued by him,” Kelly Cottle said. “He was just very different and not just because of his legs, just who he was."
They were married in 2012 and during their photo shoot, photographer Sarah Ledford suggested they get in the water.
"So we said well you can just pop off your legs and get on one of our backs and we'll take you in and so, 'cause that's just how we get around sometimes, like at the beach," Kelly said. "We do it all the time. It's just pretty normal so he hopped back on my back and then Sarah was like oh, we'll take some couples shots."
The picture was posted on Ledford’s ShutterHappy Photography Facebook page, and she said she didn’t expect the attention the photo received.
"Overwhelming, I can't even keep up with my page," Ledford said.
The picture now has thousands of likes and hundreds of shared and comments. Jesse said he can’t believe the comments and has been reading them.
"Again, just speechless, having that kind of impact, it's very humbling," Jesse said. "My first reaction was I wanted to just be able to reply to each one but then they kept. I'm glad that we can have that impact but you don't expect it.
Kelly says she and Jesse are honored to be able to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices being made by military families each and every day, and as an inspiration to so many others.