This is the inspiring story of Danielle Green, a Notre Dame graduate, former Division I women’s basketball player, Iraq combat veteran, wounded warrior, Purple Heart recipient, veterans’ counselor, and proud mom. Last night, in recognition of her strength through adversity and continued commitment to her country, she was named the 2015 recipient of the ESPYS Pat Tillman Award for Service, an award that honors a special kind of greatness.
Danielle is only the second person to receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service, which pays tribute to sportsmen and women who serve in a way that echoes the legacy of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who left the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army, and was killed in the line of duty. She is an extraordinary woman who is truly deserving of the honor, as is evidenced by the details of her life (via the Pat Tillman Foundation)…
“When Danielle Green lost her left arm to a rocket-propelled grenade explosion while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004, it was not the veteran-athlete’s first hurdle she had to overcome, and it wouldn’t be her last. Raised by her grandmother on the rough streets of Chicago’s South Side, Green had willed her way to Notre Dame, where she thrived as a serious student and standout member of the women’s basketball team. With the same determination, she set her sights on serving her country after graduating and is now a proud Purple Heart recipient.
One of the first female troops injured in Iraq, Green returned home without the dominant arm that had propelled her basketball career. Despite this, she returned to school, earned her master’s, and devoted herself to helping other service members. Today, she works for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Supervisory Readjustment Counseling Therapist at the South Bend Vet Center near her alma mater. She provides post-war veterans and their family members and veterans who report military sexual trauma with readjustment counseling services. She provides quality care to those combat veterans who suffer from the mental scars of war while assisting them with their transition to civilian life.”
As Danielle was accepting her award last night at the ESPYS, she posed a challenge to the audience, “Ask yourself… What’s my purpose? What’s my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being?” She added, “Not all of us are Pat Tillman, but we can all find ways to serve our community. We can all find ways to support the people around us. We can all find a purpose on this earth larger than ourselves.”
We encourage everyone to take Danielle’s challenge, and to be inspired by her words.