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The photo of Kelly Cottle carrying her husband Jesse Cottle, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, while on vacation has gone viral since it was posted on Facebook earlier this month. Like many touching photos, this one comes with an inspiring story attached.
ShutterHappy Photography, a studio based in Boise, Idaho, posted the photo with Kelly and Jesse on Aug. 17. Since then, it’s racked up 3,700 shares, 16,000 likes and 1,100 comments. The studio posted an entire series of photos taken while the Cottle family was on vacation, including another one in the water, in which Jesse is held up by Kelly and another member of the family.
Jesse, 28, was serving with the Marines in Afghanistan in 2009 when he stepped on an IED, losing both of his legs, reports ABC News. “If I hadn’t stepped on that IED I wouldn’t have met her,” Jesse said. “I wouldn’t take it back ever.”
Jesse met 24-year-old Kelly in San Diego, when he went to a swim meet, one of the first times he had gone out with his prosthetic legs. She recalled, “His personality and who he is just outweighs his injuries by so much that you forget about it after a while.”
The couple married in 2012 and recently picked Idaho for a family vacation, where they had the photos taken with the family. Their one-year anniversary was on Aug. 18.
“I was carrying Jesse back to his legs, and the photographer was like, ‘Oh we’ll get a couple of shots of you together.’ It wasn’t planned or anything,” Kelly said about the photo that’s gone viral.
“The photo really says it all,” Jesse told ABC. “I actually look at it very much as a symbol for our whole relationship in general. She’s physically carrying me, but there’s times where she’s carrying me emotionally. It’s a perfect representation of who Kelly is.”