SEATTLE – On a crisp night in Seattle, as another Veterans Day comes to a close, this year’s date, Nov. 12, 2018, is a date former Marine Cpl. Lance Knadler will remember from this day forward.
“I may not seem it but I’m excited. Especially what I’m going through right now, she’s been there since day one. I couldn’t ask for anything else. Except possibly be there for the rest of my life,” said Knadler.
The 28-year-old veteran followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Crete, Greece, was in Kuwait, then we went to Jordan,” Knadler said, listing off a few places he’s been.
It wasn’t a combat injury that turned this young Marine into a tetraplegic, but a car accident. The other date that stands out this year for him, Aug. 15, 2018, forever changed his life.
“I got in a vehicle accident with a moose, and here we are now,” said Knadler.
Here, outside the VA of Puget Sound, where Knadler gets intense rehabilitation, today is about celebration as he gets married to Jessica Kennedy.
The marriage vows, in sickness and in health, have already been tested for this couple who fell in love before Knadler’s accident.
“I was single mom, just raised Yvie on my own and we decided to go on this big American adventure, just winging it,” Kennedy said.
She was living in the United Kingdom and decided to come visit the U.S with her daughter, Yvie.
She says she met Knadler at a bar and the two hit it off.
“What really got me was watching my little girl fall in love with her dad, so that really got me,” said Jessica. “He had his accident and I thought I loved him more than I ever could at that point."
They decided life is about picking the battles you fight, and choosing who stands by your side.
“Well, this is my veteran. Everybody else has a different story, and this is ours,” Kennedy said.
Their story is one of love, resilience, rising strong and looking ahead.
“He told me he’ll walk again and that’s my job now to make sure that happens, and hopefully we can renew our vows and he can walk down the aisle to me,” Kennedy said.
The couple plans to move back to North Carolina, where Knadler’s parents live and where he was stationed for six years.
Knadler says with therapy he has gotten some motor skill function back in his arms. He hopes to be able to walk again, and plans to start more aggressive therapy on the East Coast. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with his medical expenses.