Kirstie Ennis’s story may have begun when she lost her leg after her helicopter went down in Afghanistan, but it certainly doesn’t end there. After more than 40 surgeries and the amputation of her leg first below and then above the knee after a life-threatening infection, the former Marine sergeant has accomplished more at 29 years old than most people have achieved in their lifetimes.
Ennis enlisted in the Marine Corps when she was only 17 years old, inspired by her parents who were also Marines. Ennis has turned the concept of “disabled athlete” on its head, proving how capable she still is, whether it’s on one leg or two. She hopes to complete the Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent by 2021 as a means to fundraise and raise awareness for a variety of a causes through her organization, The Kirstie Ennis Foundation.
What people might not know about Ennis: she’s completed three Master’s degrees and is currently working to complete her doctorate in Education. Kirstie is an ambassador for the nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes and sits on the board of directors of Merging Vets and Players. She has opened several start up businesses including gyms and salons. She also earned her license as a real estate advisor and is based at Engel & Volkers in Carbondale, Colorado.
After returning home from Everest in summer of 2019, Kirstie was the ESPY’s Pat Tillman Award recipient. She received the 2020 Higher Ground award at the Martin Luther King Family Salute to Greatness gala and is the youngest inductee ever into the International Sports Hall of Fame.