Noah Galloway of Birmingham, Ala., never dreamed of entering the military — then history intervened.
“There’s a lot of military history in my family, and I didn’t want anything to do with any of it,” Galloway says in a video for Men’s Health. “September 11th happened, and I was twenty years old, I was physically fit, and I just saw it as something I needed to do.” In October 2001, he enlisted.
Then during December 2005, Sergeant Galloway was serving in the Infantry in Iraq in when his unit received orders that required driving a Humvee into an area known as “the Triangle of Death” in Yusufiah. Driving with the headlights off and night vision goggles on, they didn’t see a trip wire, which detonated a roadside bomb as they drove over it. The explosion blasted Galloway into a canal and led to the amputation of both his left arm and leg.
Personal turmoil soon followed. “I thought more than a few times that it would have been better if I’d have just died,” he says. “I’d have been looked at like a hero. But instead, here I am, I’ve had two of my limbs taken from me. I would drink every day, but then I would go out in public and I was fine. There was this other side of me that I was just really hiding. I finally decided this has got to stop.”
Galloway joined a gym, began working out extensively and changed his diet. “Everything in my life started to improve,” he says.
The father of three now works as a personal trainer specializing in helping disabled vets, and he doesn’t let his clients get away with their excuses for not excelling. “Whatever it is that you tell me that you can’t do, we can find something to get it done,” he says. “I’ve had nothing but people try to help me. The least I can do is try to help anyone that’s in need around me.”
Most recently, Men’s Health named Galloway its “Ultimate Men’s Health Guy,” picking him from among the 1,246 contenders who entered the magazine’s first-ever contest and placing him on the November cover. Galloway won the reader’s choice poll of three finalists — finishing with more than 60,000 votes.
We bet that his inspiring story will motivate some couch potatoes to lace up their sneakers.