Photo of wife carrying husband goes viral - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Photo of wife carrying husband, a wounded Marine, on her back goes viral

Courtesy: ShutterHappy Photography/Facebook Courtesy: ShutterHappy Photography/Facebook

BOISE, IDAHO (WKOW) -- A newlywed couple is making many believe true love does exist. A photo of the former Marine on his wife's back has gone viral and is hitting the hearts of thousands.

Marine Staff Sergeant Jesse Cottle joined the Marines in August 2003. His world changed forever in 2009. "We were on an IED clearing mission on foot."

Jesse's job was to find and dismantle improvised explosive devices. A helmet camera captured video from that day in Afghanistan. "About 5 hours into that patrol, into that mission, I was struck by an anti-personnel IED. It was a pressure plate. I stepped on it and lost both legs right away."

The explosion was caught on camera. Jesse says, "I remember most everything. I was awake the whole time. 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 ad 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."

He met Kelly during his recovery. She was swimming  for Boise State the time. "I met her at a swim meet in San Diego."

Kelly says, "And I just remember being very intrigued by him. He was just very different and not because of his legs, just who he was."

They were married in 2012. They live in San Diego now but they were recently visiting Kelly's family in Idaho. While they were here they took family portraits.

Kelly says, "It was a normal photo shoot, we finally got together and Jesse had his legs on and everything."

Photographer Sarah Ledford suggested a picture in the water. Kelly says, "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. We do it all the time. It's just pretty normal, so he hopped back on my back and then Sarah's like 'Oh, we'll take some couples shots.'"

Ledford posted one of those shots on her Facebook page. She had no idea the image of Kelly carrying Jesse on her back would get the reaction it did. "Overwhelming, I can't even keep up with my page."

Thousands of likes. Hundreds of shares and comments.

The picture just blew up, and America just fell in love with Jesse and Kelly. Jesse reads some of the comments, like "God bless the both of you and thank you tremendously for your sacrifice for our freedom, you are a hero." Jesse says, "It again, I'm just speechless. Having that kind of impact it's very humbling. My first reaction was wanting to reply to each one, but then they kept coming. I'm glad that we can have that kind of impact, but you don't expect it."

Kelly adds, "Yeah, it's just kind of normal for us. But it's cool because we represent a lot of people, couples that are going through the same thing and so it's just an honor to be able to represent that."

Now, Jesse and Kelly are an inspiration to thousands and a reminder of the sacrifices being made by our military every day.

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