After a photographer in Idaho suggested a picture of Kelly Cottle giving a piggyback ride to her husband Jesse, a former Marine who lost both his legs while on tour in Afghanistan, the image was posted on Facebook and quickly went viral.
The couple thought nothing of piggybacking because that's how they get around in places where the former Marine can't use his prosthetic legs, they told Boise's KTVB-TV in a report about Jesse and Kelly Cottle's viral piggybacking pic
The couple lives in San Diego but were visiting family in Idaho when they decided to take some photos. Photographer Sarah Ledford suggested a picture in the water.
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"So we said 'well, you can just pop off your legs and get on one of our backs and we'll take you in' and so, 'cause that's just how we get around sometimes, like at the beach," Kelly Cottle told KTVB. "It's just pretty normal, so he hopped back on my back and then Sarah's like 'oh, we'll take some couples shots.'"
Ledford said she posted one of those shots on her Facebook page and was surprised by the reaction.
"Overwhelming, I can't even keep up with my page," Ledford told the television station. "America just fell in love with Jesse and Kelly."
"Amazing picture and an amazing couple," said Annie Barone Donnelly, one of the responders on Facebook. "God bless this man for giving so much to our country and God Bless his beautiful wife for seeing this amazing person for the hero he is and for her love and compassion."
"This photo just make me want to burst into tears. Tears of happiness," said another poster Brent Rasmussen. "Complete and total awe and respect for you, marine, and complete and total respect for you, Kelly. Just incredible. From a fellow serviceman (Navy)."
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Ledford has been overwhelmed as well, apologizing to her new fans on Facebook as the flood of responses (more than 14,600 likes and 1,000 comments as of Wednesday) from the Cottle photos continued to flow in.
"I am doing my best to respond to everyone and the media as quickly as I can," Ledford posted on her Facebook page Tuesday. "Please bear with me as this whirlwind of publicity was very unexpected . . . I'll do my best to get to your messages as quickly as I can."
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