STATEHOUSE—Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) honored Lance Corporal Josh Bleill today for his dedicated military service and motivational work with injured military personal and their families.
Lance Corporal Bleill had been serving in the U.S. Marine Corp for two and a half years when he was injured while serving with his team in Fallujah, Iraq. On October 15, 2006, his life changed forever when an explosive device struck his Humvee during a patrol, killing two and injuring several members of his team.
Lance Corporal Bleill suffered a broken jaw, crushed hip and multiple broken bones. In addition, he lost both of his legs. He spent the next 22 months recovering in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was faced with the biggest challenge of his life—learning to live with artificial legs.
During his recovery, Colts owner Jim Irsay visited Lance Corporal Bleill and asked him to come see Irsay when he returned to Indiana. After leaving the hospital, he was honorably discharged from the military due to medical reasons, but was offered a position by Irsay as the Colt’s community spokesperson.
For three years now, Lance Corporal Bleill continues to meet with injured military personnel and their supporting families to help encourage them through their recovery. In addition, he has completed more than 250 motivational presentations this year to various schools, churches and organizations around the state.
He has also written a book entitled “One Step at a Time: A Young Marine’s Story of Courage, Hope and a New Life in the NFL” in an effort to reach out to others who were recovering from traumatic injuries to help them in their time of need.
“Everyone experiences a bomb in their life—it may or may not be the kind I experienced—but bad days happen,” said Lance Corporal Bleill today. “Hearing peoples’ stories of triumph and being a part of that is an unbelievable experience. I truly feel blessed.”
As a Greenfield native, Lance Corporal Bleill played lacrosse at Purdue University and enjoyed water skiing while growing up. He roomed with Rep. Cherry’s son Kevin while attending Purdue University.
“Josh’s is beginning a new mission and believes his faith in God will help him accomplish his mission in helping others during their long road to recovery,” said Rep. Cherry. “His faith was truly tested by his severe injuries, but he received both physically and mentally and has become a stronger, more dedicated person because of his experiences.
Lance Corporal Bleill was greeted with a standing ovation by all legislators, staff and members of the public that were present during today’s legislative session.
“Lance Corporal Josh Bleill is truly an inspiration to all of us,” said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis). “We are greatly appreciative of his courageous military service to our country, his continuous dedication to helping others and remarkable spirit.”