A photo of husband and wife, Jesse Cottle and Kelly Cottle, went viral Monday after photographer Sarah Ledford posted the photo on her Facebook page. The photo shows Kelly giving her husband, Jesse, a piggyback ride over a small body of water – Jesse is a double amputee who lost his legs while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan four years ago.

Ledford posted the photo Aug. 17 on her photography Facebook page, ShutterHappy Photography, and the picture took off – just 10 days latter, the photo has almost 16,000 likes and has been shared on Facebook over 3,500 times.


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The couple, which just celebrated their one-year anniversary, was in Idaho visiting Kelly’s family and decided to have family portraits done on Aug 16. When Ledford asked the family to get in the water for group shots, Jesse took off his prosthetics and jumped on his wife’s back. Pictures were taken and then took the Internet by storm.

“I just LOVED this family… Not one of them were even a tad hesitant about getting in the water with me! Even the Marine, when asked if he could get in, just sat down, took off his legs and rode piggy-back! LOVE!!!! Love the energy, the positive attitudes.” Ledford wrote on her Facebook when she posted the family album.

Jesse lost his legs in 2009 while on a mission to search and disarm IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Afghanistan. He accidentally stepped an IED – the entire accident was captured via a helmet camera and is featured in a documentary titled Coming Home.

During recovery, Jesse met Kelly at a swim meet (she was swimming for Boise State at the time) and the two were married in 2012.

While the world may be enchanted with the piggy-back ride between husband and wife, for Jesse and Kelly, it’s just a normal part of their day.

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“So we said ‘well, you can just pop off your legs and get on one of our backs and we’ll take you in [the water]’ and so, because that’s just how we get around sometimes, like at the beach…It’s just pretty normal. So, he hopped back on my back and then Sarah [Ledford]’s like ‘oh, we’ll take some couples shots,’” Kelly said when asked how the photo came about.

Jesse expressed his awe at the overwhelming response to the photo, saying, “I’m glad that we can have that impact, but you don’t expect it.”

“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,” added Kelly.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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  • Elena
    Elena on

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    marahamilton118 on

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