Local Purple Heart recipient shares important message about suicide

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A local veteran's message about suicide is now spreading around the world.

11 News viewers have shared Kenny Bower's story over and over again on social media. The three-time Purple Heart recipient and former Army Ranger has been through more than 600 combat missions overseas. On one mission he was blown up and left paralyzed. He even flatlined for 97 seconds. More than 150 surgeries later he's proving no obstacle is too big to overcome.

One of the first things you notice about Kenny Bower is his unstoppable smile and positivity.

"If you can accept that life isn't easy and it's hard, you can overcome anything. You can make it easy with a good mindset," Bower explained.

Behind Bower's bright smile is a man who once considered ending it all. Fourteen years ago his vehicle was blown up during a deployment to Iraq. Nine soldiers died, two survived. Kenny was left burned and paralyzed.

"I was told I would never walk again. I would be lucky to even get feeling back," Bower recalled.

Kenny credits a firefighter who stayed by his bedside, helping him to push forward.

"I realized I was trying to end a very prosperous successful life before it ever blossomed," Bower stated.

Despite the odds, Kenny did walk again and went on to serve nine more years in combat. Now Kenny serves as a firefighter at Fort Carson.

"I thought what could get me close to what I felt in the military and kept pursing it, kept pursing it," said Bower.

He's now facing what he calls the biggest mission of his life. He and his fiancee, Michelle, just had a baby girl.

"We think we're super prepared for it but when it's here it's going to go out the window and it's gonna be like combat again," Bower said while laughing.

No doubt they'll meet the challenge! Since Dianne spoke with Bower he welcomed his baby girl into the world!

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.