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Marissa MayerNov 10, 2022 12:00:00 AM4 min read

‘Life Doesn’t End After Tragedy’: Veterans Share Powerful Overcomer Stories this Veterans Day

There is a lot to be said about the respect and gratitude our veterans deserve because of their sacrifice to protect and serve our country. But we can’t forget that more often than not, the battles our veterans face never end – even after they return home. Whether it’s dealing with PTSD, disability due to injury, mental illness, homelessness, addiction… the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual scars of active-duty military service are very real.

Looking for family-friendly entertainment in support of our military men and women? Pure Flix has some excellent movies that you can stream all weekend in honor of our veterans, including “My Brother's Keeper,” “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” “We Are Stronger,” and “Indivisible.”

That’s why, as we celebrate Veteran’s Day and honor the incredible men and women who have given so much for us, we want to take a minute to highlight just a few of them who have overcome some of life’s greatest challenges to make a difference in some pretty inspiring ways.

USMC Vet Turns Loss of Leg into Victory

Annika Hutsler didn’t even make it out of boot camp before a difficult-to-treat tumor in her foot led to the amputation of her right leg, 17 centimeters below the knee. But while many would have considered the amputation a loss, Hutsler turned it into victory and purpose. She immersed herself in the world of para-athletics, becoming not only a decorated adaptive athlete, but also a coach and mentor for children with amputations.

"Life doesn’t end after tragedy,” Hutsler said in a recent interview. "Maybe your plan A didn’t work out, maybe your plan B didn’t work out. Heck, maybe even your plan G didn’t work out. But it’s OK if things don’t work out because you can make a new plan. You can strive to be better and strive to make a good life. And sometimes, that life ends up being better than you ever thought it could be."


Hutsler is also giving back by posing as a pinup model in the 2023 Pin-Ups for Vets calendar. The nonprofit was founded to raise funds to support hospitalized and deployed troops. The calendars are inspired by similar ones that were created and distributed to servicemen during World War II and feature veterans as the models.

Veterans Turned Marathoners Demonstrate 'Nothing is Impossible'

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Carla Drumbeater, Stephen Wertheimer and Richard Newman have two things in common: they’re all veterans and they all recently ran in the 2022 New York City Marathon. While each of their stories are unique and special in their own ways, all three no doubt relied on their military training to complete the grueling 26.2 mile run.  These veterans are living testimony to understanding "Nothing Is Impossible."

Following her military service, Drumbeater worked as an ICU therapist and lost 50 pounds while training for the marathon. Wertheimer is 84 (!) and an orthopedist who ran his 39th New York City Marathon. And Warner came back from a heart attack to run in his 26th New York City Marathon and 75th marathon overall at the tender age of 75.

Pay It Forward: Former Homeless Marine Gifts Car to Fellow Vet

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Four years ago, Whitney Thompson, a Marine Corps veteran, was in the midst of escaping a domestic violence relationship and facing homelessness. Then the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the Mesa Veteran Resource Center in Arizona gave her a car.

That generous act changed everything for Thompson. She was able to turn her life around and today is a proud land owner who works for the VA! That’s why when Thompson heard that James Mitchell, a fellow veteran, was facing the same need, she decided to pay it forward and give the man a car.

"I don't know what this person has gone through, but they need help,” Thompson explained in a recent interview. “Knowing the possibilities of what it can do in a positive way makes me really emotional, so I am excited to see how it helps him and changes his life too.”

Please join us today in thanking all the veterans who have served and remembering them and their families in your prayers.

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Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in Christian Post, The Daily Signal, and Intellectual Takeout. Mayer has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.