Melissa Stockwell was appointed as a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition on March 24, 2023, for a 2-year term.
Ms. Stockwell was the first female American soldier to lose a limb in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb on April 13, 2004, resulting in the loss of her left leg above the knee. She was honored with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for her service. Four years later she represented the USA again, this time as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team where she was the first Iraq War Veteran to qualify for the Paralympic Games. She would return to the Paralympic Games twice more, in 2016 and 2020, in triathlon. She has remained one of the world’s most elite paratriathletes, winning 3 World Championship titles and being the 2016 Paralympic Bronze Medalist. She is both a world record-holding marathon runner and an Ironman.
Away from the field of play, in 2011 she co-founded the nonprofit organization Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club, which serves youth and adults with physical disabilities along with injured service members. Dare2tri provides adaptive equipment, training, coaching, and support in triathlon. In 2019, Stockwell and her husband, Brian Tolsma, opened the doors to Tolsma Stockwell Prosthetics — where they provide state-of-the-art, custom-made orthotics and prosthetics to the amputee community, including some of the top adaptive athletes in the world. Stockwell is one of the most critically acclaimed inspirational speakers in the country, and the author of The Power of Choice. Stockwell is the proud mother of Dallas (born 2014) and Millie (born 2017) and lives with her family near the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.