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Your Choices Change Lives | Cpl. Todd Nicely (ep. 508)

Todd Nicely

John O’Leary welcomes Cpl. Todd Nicely to the Live Inspired Podcast as he shares what inspired his service and how he leads from the front.

Six months into his second deployment, Corporal Todd Nicely of the United States Marine Corps stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) during a routine security patrol. The squad leader is one of only two modern day veterans that have endured battlefield injuries resulting in the loss of all four limbs and survived.

Immediately after enduring the horrific blast and suffering massive injuries, his first two thoughts were of others: getting back to his wife and not frightening the young Marines he was responsible for.

Today, Todd works to help and motivate other fellow disabled veterans through their life struggles and hardships.

My friends, this conversation is undeniably painful. Yet it’s also a story of redemption and finding purpose from a hero with a resilient spirit, infectious enthusiasm, positive outlook, and a strength of mind and character that is second to none.

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  • Saving Private Ryan: After watching the iconic award-winning film, Todd felt called to honor and serve.
  • Before joining the service, Todd developed his patience and precision by hanging drywall.
  • “How far can I push myself before my limits break?” At 23, Todd joined the Marines.
  • After a quiet deployment in Iraq in 2018, Todd’s unit was deployed early to Afghanistan after the unit before them had become combat ineffective, meaning too many of their members were wounded or lost that they could no longer fulfill their mission.
  • Leading from the front: At 26 years old, Todd was a squad leader to 12 18-year-old men where he felt called to serve others before serving himself.
  • March 26, 2010: On what was supposed to be his day off, Todd steps on an improvised explosive device (IED). As a result, he lost his right arm at the elbow, left arm above the wrist, right and left legs above the knee.
  • Anticipating it would take four years to recover, Todd left Walter Reed in just a year and half and although he was recovering physically, he was suffering tremendously mentally.
  • June 2016: Feeling lonely and burdensome yet full of Marine pride, Todd attempts suicide.
  • “Your choices change lives.”
  • Through the Joshua Chamberlain Society, Todd met former Cardinals John Mabry who encouraged him to join FOCUS Marines which has helped him profoundly by giving him something he was missing: purpose.
  • Every November 22, Todd as his platoon visit the parents of Core Four member Nicholas Hand.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love our Military and First Responders playlist. Featuring Apollo 13’s Capt. Jim Lovell, one of my childhood heroes Capt. Charlie Plumb and award-winning actor Gary Sinise. After his iconic role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, a relentless drive was ignited within Gary to champion for the sacrifices our veterans to ensure they’re never forgotten. Listen to the Military and First Responders playlist now.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?

    On Fire by John O’Leary.

  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?

    Lovingness and leadership.

  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?

    My marriage certificate.

  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?

    General George Patton.

  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

    Life’s not going to wait for you.

  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

    Stop hanging sheetrock right now and join the Marine Corps.

  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Went out to help other people and did a great job.