As our nation commemorates the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, this year’s Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 30, 2021, at the Sioux City Convention Center. Focused on saluting our veterans and the men and women of our Armed Forces, this year’s event is designed to collectively say “Thank you” to our service members for their selfless sacrifice and commitment to defend freedom around the globe.
To this end, we welcome Keynote Speaker Melissa Stockwell, an American war hero, world champion athlete, and mother of two. She has triumphed over personal tragedy to achieve international athletic acclaim.
A 2002 ROTC graduate of the University of Colorado, Melissa was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in March of 2004 as part of the global “War on Terror.” Three weeks later, a blast from a roadside bomb struck Stockwell’s Humvee. The attack resulted in the loss of her left leg above the knee. She is the first female in our Armed Forces to lose a limb in active combat, and a recipient of both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Following her military service and focusing on her recovery, Melissa turned her attention to competitive athletics. She became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Paralympics. After competing in three swimming events at the 2008 Paralympic Games in China, Stockwell was honored by her fellow Team USA athletes and selected to carry our nation’s flag at the closing ceremonies. After Beijing, Melissa transitioned to the sport of Paratriathlon. She is now a three-time World Champion. She was named female Paratriathlete of the Year for two consecutive years and has twice been nominated for an ESPY Award.
Today, Melissa continues to compete as a world-class athlete while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own. She has become a certified prosthetist, elite triathlon coach, and the published author of The Power of Choice: My Journey from Wounded Warrior to World Champion.
In addition to welcoming Melissa Stockwell, Siouxland will be treated to the powerful and patriotic voice of United States Navy Petty Officer (Retired) Generald Wilson. He will sing our national anthem. Wilson, who has performed at the World Series, Conference Championship games in the NFL, as well at NCAA championship contests, will deliver a performance you will not want to miss.
Chris McGowan, President, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce