Do you keep in mind what you had been doing on September 7, 2010? Until a significant milestone in your life passed off, in all probability not. Kionte Storey remembers that date as if it was the identical day that you’re studying this proper now. Storey was serving America as a member of the Marine Corps, and he was on a mission within the Center Straightforward. It was his second tour of responsibility, after serving in Iraq the 12 months prior.
After three of his fellow Marines surveyed a constructing on a mission in Afghanistan, he went in to test issues out for himself. With one step, Storey’s life modified eternally, and it might’ve ended.
“We had been attempting to be radio silent. So, I went within the constructing, and thoughts you 12 or so different people walked within the constructing earlier than I did,” he mentioned. “There was an IED three steps in that one way or the other nobody else stepped on, or one way or the other stepped over. You possibly can’t actually say nobody stepped on it.”
Sadly for Kionte Storey, he did, and his proper leg took essentially the most important harm. Despite what simply occurred, his Marine Corps instincts took over, remembering to regulate his respiratory so his coronary heart price wouldn’t go quicker, and remaining calm whereas the opposite staff members decided the easiest way to get him to security. There’s a good likelihood that his choices in that second might’ve saved his personal life.
“It was hanging on by flesh, after which my staff received me out,” mentioned Storey. He was the one individual injured. Although Storey was capable of survive and recuperate over the following two years, it was apparent that his energetic army profession, which began in 2007, was over. Storey was honored by receiving the Purple Coronary heart for his sacrifice and dedication to freedom and his nation.
What could have been simply as arduous for Kionte Storey was the restoration course of. He was on a number of medicines to assist him cope with the ache, and adapt to a brand new life as an amputee. The medicines ended up having a powerful facet impact that he didn’t need. He was feeling depressed, utilizing the drugs to manage as an alternative of heal, and his mindset was in a darkish place.
“I discovered myself abusing ache medicine to numb myself from my ideas. Finally, I acknowledged that this isn’t the life I wish to stay, and this isn’t me,” he said. Storey grew up and not using a father in his life, and his mom wasn’t within the image, both. He was really raised by his second cousin, who he considers his mother. She went on to undertake him and make it official. Due to his organic mom’s wrestle with medicine, he didn’t wish to discover himself in the same scenario.
“I flushed my ache meds down the bathroom and pursued what I needed to be doing: being energetic and touring, I stop them chilly turkey.”
Health wasn’t part of Storey’s life rising up, however it was about to change into an enormous a part of it going ahead. He began coaching in a number of endeavors, together with monitor and discipline. What he really discovered himself thriving at was sprinting. He skilled for a number of main competitions, together with the Warrior Video games and the Paralympics. He additionally developed one other ardour – mountaineering. In 2013, Storey traveled to Antartica and climbed Mount Vinson Massif, one of many world’s seven summits. He was questioning himself as he was transferring ahead, however he by no means gave up.
“I used to be both going to get to the summit or die attempting,” Storey proclaimed. “I knew that I had it in me. I used to be considering of these guys that served earlier than me that died, and that motivated me to maintain going.”
One can solely think about what the world appeared like from the highest of that mountain. Storey described the second he stood on the peak as a turning level in his life. “It’s nonetheless my primary factor for me as a result of that modified every little thing. I felt I might do something and that I wouldn’t let my damage outline me.”
Kionte Storey would additionally climb Mt. Kilimanjaro efficiently in a while, and he has set a aim to climb all seven summits sometime. It received’t be an in a single day course of, however he’s assured that he can do it because of his success with the primary two mountains.
Storey’s most up-to-date athletic feat got here when competed in 2022 Invictus Video games, representing Group US. He walked away with two gold medals and one silver medal whereas competing in monitor. He defined the sensation of representing his nation as an athlete.
“It feels superb. Displaying the world not solely what I might do, however what anybody can do whereas recovering from accidents or disabilities, was superb. Group US confirmed up, and we dominated,” he mentioned. As proud as he and his teammates are, there was an much more essential profit from competing.
“The true key takeaway was assembly different people who had their very own disabilities and accidents from all walks of life. Seeing how inspirational all of us are and we’ve all managed to proceed pushing ahead was a testomony to the human spirit.”
As we speak, Storey is at the moment a full-time scholar, working to realize his Bachelor’s Diploma in Kinesiology. He hopes that it’ll parlay right into a profession in bodily remedy. On the finish of the day, Storey’s heroism, capability to beat adversity, and pursuit of athletic greatness has impressed many individuals through the years, and it continues to take action at present. To be clear, he sees himself as an athlete, and he trains for the following aim with out letting his prosthetic leg function a crutch.
“I’m an individual who needs to pursue the following athletic endeavor and tackle the following problem. I don’t let my prosthetic outline me or let my damage outline me. I proceed to problem myself every day in each method that I can.”
You possibly can comply with Kionte on Instagram @kiontestorey