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The Sweetest Love Story Ever — Wife Carrying Marine Husband Who Lost His Legs

jesse and kelly cottle
Sarah Ledford / ShutterHappy Photography

A photo taken on a family trip to Idaho and posted to Facebook has gone viral, but it is the story of Jesse and Kelly Cottle, of San Diego, Calif., that bears repeating.

It tells of service, sacrifice and love. In 2009, Jesse, now 28, stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and lost both his legs. After recovering in a hospital for several months he met Kelly, 24, at a swim meet that saw one of his first attempts to use his prosthetic legs.

Aug. 18 marked their first wedding anniversary.

While in Boise to visit her family recently, “Someone had suggested taking photos in the water,” said Kelly. “I was carrying Jesse back to his legs, and the photographer was like, ‘Oh we’ll get a couple of shots of you together.’ It wasn’t planned or anything.”

The photos were taken by Sarah Ledford’s ShutterHappy Photography.

“His personality and who he is just outweighs his injuries by so much that you forget about it after a while,” Kelly tells ABC News, while Jesse says, “If I hadn’t stepped on that IED I wouldn’t have met her. I wouldn’t take it back ever.”

And Jesse’s take? “The photo really says it all. I actually look at it very much as a symbol for our whole relationship in general. She’s physically carrying me, but there’s times where she’s carrying me emotionally. It’s a perfect representation of who Kelly is.”

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