Guest speaker at Roncalli High School gives words of inspiration at school-wide speech
By Nicole Davis
When Josh Bleill lost his legs as a Marine fighting in Iraq, he almost gave up hope. Speaking to the entire Roncalli High School on Jan. 15, Bleill shared his story of recovery and the importance of perseverance.
“It was an incredibly inspiring message of hope, resiliency, and faith,” said Chuck Weisenbach, principal. “We wanted our students to hear a positive message to inspire them for the start of the second semester. Josh’s message includes being kind to one another and to try to find the good in every situation.”
Bleill, from Greenfield, said he was driving in a Humvee in Fallujah, Iraq when it drove over a bomb in the median. When he woke up in a hospital in Germany, he had a lot of support from nurses and family. But he refused to go in public and hid within the hospital walls, afraid of how people would see him. Finally, Bleill said he realized that of course people were going to see him, but what mattered was how they saw him.
“When you get back up after something goes wrong, people will support you,” Bleill said. “That’s what they want to see. They want to see that comeback story.”
Bleill said relearning how to walk was the hardest thing he has ever done. The Indianapolis Colts had the most influence on him throughout his recovery. The team came to visit the hospital he was in, and owner Jim Irsay, having already heard his story, offered him a job once he got out. He currently does public speaking on the behalf of the Colts.
“I think (the speech) was pretty good because he kept telling us to live with obstacles and not just give up, keep on fighting,” said Brian Doerr, sophomore. “Sometimes our school has a lot of things like peer pressure. We can use God and keep fighting like he did. It gave us more of an outside view and a view life.”
To sum up his story, Bleill said it’s important to understand that everyone has bad days, everyone falls down.
“We all have bombs that go off in our lives – things that happen,” Bleill said. “We’re all going through hard times, so why not give each other a hand, give each other a smile?”
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