An inspiring video of an Army veteran carrying a woman across the finish line of the Boston Marathon went viral this week. The video was captured in the final minutes of the 2017 race and features Earl Granville and his friend and marathon guide Andi Piscopo.
While the imagery might not seem unique at first glance, it’s the story behind Granville’s run that makes the difference. The 33-year-old Scranton, Pennsylvania resident lost his left leg in 2008 after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. This trauma, along with a few other tragedies he suffered make his crossing the finish line an inspiration and an accomplishment.
10. Army Veteran Loses His Leg
Earl Granville was on patrol in Afghanistan in 2008 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. He lost his left leg and two of his comrades, Spc. Derek Holland and Maj. Scott Hagerty. For his service, Granville earned the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman Badge. But his journey through tragedy was just beginning.
9. Granville’s Twin Commits Suicide
Two and a half years after Granville lost his leg in battle, his twin brother took his life. Granville’s brother also served in the army. He recalled, “My downward spiral happened after that. A lot of hardships I faced, a lot of things I was doing. It was just very unhealthy choices I was making.”
8. Veterans And Suicide
The issue of veterans like Granville’s twin brother committing suicide is unfortunately common. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 22 veterans die by suicide per day. The statistics are heartbreaking, especially for the 33-year-old. But despite the odds and the tragic way his brother died, Granville persevered.
7. Turning His Life Around
To dig himself out of depression, Granville picked up an active lifestyle. He started running and training to compete in marathons. To start his marathon life, the veteran decided to use a hand-bike. Granville competed in marathons in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and New York. This year was Granville’s fourth Boston Marathon.
6. Finishing With Other Trauma Survivors
Being a survivor is part of who Granville is. Last year, while using his hand-bike, the Army veteran finished just ahead of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile. Fucarile lost one of his legs during the 2013 bombing and suffered burns on 90 percent of his lower body. But, like the Army veteran, Fucarile didn’t let his injuries keep him from competition.