A Marine who overcame extensive injuries from his service in Iraq, spoke about how his faith was tested at a prayer breakfast event in Indiana for the National Day of Prayer Thursday.
Josh Bleill, who now serves as a community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts, was the keynote speaker at the event where he shared the courage he had and recovery he endured after losing both legs during his tour of duty.
"My faith was tested. My life was changed forever. But after 22 months in the hospital, healing mentally, physically and spiritually, I was able to walk off of that plane. … The first thing I did when I got new prosthetic legs with knees was to get down on them and pray and thank God for the life he spared," said Bleill, according to nwitimes.com.
The attack occurred in 2006 when an Iraqi insurgent's IED exploded underneath his humvee, which killed two fellow Marines. Bleill has no memory of the explosion, but says he awoke five days later with a broken jaw, his mouth wired shut, 34 screws in his pelvis and a tracheotomy to help him breathe.
Over the years, Bleill recounts that he has undergone several dark moments, especially when he was told he needed to have a second amputation surgery, which forced his physical therapy to start from the beginning again.
Bleill, however, credits his faith in God for keeping him strong.
"Bad things happen. Oct. 15, 2006, was the worst day of my life. My world went black. We all have bombs going off in our lives, things we don't see coming that change your life forever. Some say that God only gives you what you can handle, but that's not true. He gives you more, to push you to the point where you have to come to Him," Bleill said.
Since then, Bleill has written a book, One Step at a Time: A Young Marine's Story of Courage, Hope, and a New Life in the NFL, in which he writes about his journey from his enlistment to active duty in Fallujah, through two years of rehab, and ultimately to his job as the community spokesman for the Indianapolis Colts.
According to Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana Colts owner Jim Irsay sought Bleill while he was recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Colts were in Washington, D.C. around the same time when Irsay visited Bleill to offer him a job with the team.
Bleill now travels throughout the country as a speaker encouraging and motivating people to get past their limitations.