Excerpted from Mad World News: An amputee veteran of the U.S. Army spent many years overwhelmed by depression and alcohol, and just recently had an encounter with Men’s Health Magazine that has a lot of people talking — in a good way! The praise is rolling in for what this magazine did with this amputee.

Noah Galloway’s Humvee hit an improvised explosive device in Iraq back in 2005, changing his life forever. But after years of depression and alcohol, he decided to turn it around. Now, he’s the first amputee veteran to have ever been on the cover of the fitness magazine, according to Today.com.

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

How did Galloway do it?

After losing his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee on Dec. 15, 2005, Galloway fell into a deep depression, but decided he was going to pull himself out of it. Having been into fitness for most of his life, he turned to it to get things going in a good direction. In 2010, he said he looked in the mirror only to find he despised the person he saw, and from that point on, he dedicated himself to getting back in shape.

“I looked back, and my depression terrified me,” 33-year-old Galloway told Men’s Health for its November issue. “I never wanted to experience that again. That’s why I got into races. What kept me moving was never going back to where I came from. I wanted people to see more than my injury.”

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

Galloway’s journey to becoming an inspiring athlete started when he would go to the 24-hour gym because he said he was far too embarrassed to have anybody see him working out due to his injuries. He would rig the machines to allow himself to use them even though he was missing two of his limbs.

“Little surprises kept me going,” Galloway told Men’s Health. “A little better this day, a little stronger the next. Suddenly, it was six months. I was like, ‘Man, this is pretty good.”’

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

This all gave him confidence to work out in front of other people, and eventually, he started racing. Since then, he’s competed in a dozen Spartan races, multiple marathons, and seven Tough Mudder events to try to inspire others, in which he’s done an excellent job.

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

Galloway’s efforts landed him a spot in the top three finalists for the first-ever Ultimate Men’s Health Guy, who is described as “physically fit, confident, stylish, career-driven and a pillar of his community,” according to the magazine. That’s quite impressive considering there were over 1,300 entries received and nearly 400,000 votes cast for the competition.

Galloway was chosen by a judging panel on the Today Show over two other finalists — David Akers and 22-year Marine Corps helicopter pilot Kavan Lake — and is the first reader to ever appear on the cover of the magazine in its 26-year history. Quite an honor, considering where he was just four years ago, wouldn’t you say? The best part is that he didn’t expect any special treatment due to his missing limbs.

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

“If I make the cover, I hope it’s not just because I’m injured,” he told the magazine when he arrived in New York for the finals.

The father of three from Alabaster, Alabama, said that he still fears his depression and there’s still tough days, despite his recent fame and accomplishments, but that he doesn’t let them get him down.

“I don’t dwell on it, because that makes it worse,” he said, “I don’t try to cover it up, because that’s something I did when I was depressed. I’ve learned that this too shall pass. A couple of days later, I’ll be like, ‘Whooo, I really felt bad a couple days ago. Now I’m good!”

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

He also hasn’t let the recent sprint into the spotlight go to his head and said he views his new title as a compliment.

“A title like ‘Ultimate Men’s Health Guy’ almost makes it sound like, ‘Hey, this is the ultimate guy.’ To me, they’re putting a reader on the cover, so it’s more of the average man. He’s not going to be bigger than life. Men’s Health sees that man as relatable,” he said, “To feel like I’m relatable to all the readers—that’s some big compliment.”

What Men’s Health Magazine Did With Amputee Vet Has A LOT Of People Talking

Such a story shows us that there’s nothing in this world more powerful than the human spirit, and it should inspire anybody who may think they’re incapable of accomplishing something because of physical limitations. Make sure you share this with your friends and family so they too can see that hard work and dedication pay off.

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