Prince Harry Dons His Medals As He Presents A Special Award From His Residence In Montecito

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Prince Harry Dons His Medals As He Presents A Special Award From His Residence In Montecito

Prince Harry proudly wore his medals as he delivered a heartfelt video message from his Montecito residence for the Military Times Service Members of The Year Awards.

Dressed in a suit, the 39-year-old adorned his Afghanistan Operational Service Medal, symbolizing his military tenure, alongside the Golden, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilee medals. During the presentation, he awarded Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks with the Soldier of the Year Award.

The father of two, who served two tours in Afghanistan during his decade-long military service, hailed Sergeant Marks as both a “friend” and a “beacon of inspiration”.

Sergeant Marks enlisted in the US Army at 17 in 2008, enduring bilateral hip injuries during her deployment in Iraq two years later. Despite setbacks, she emerged as a four-time Invictus Games gold medalist and a five-time Paralympic medalist, utilizing swimming as part of her rehabilitation and cardio regimen since 2012.

Harry said in his video message, which was played at the awards ceremony in Washington DC: “I first met Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks at the Invictus Games in Orlando 2016, where I presented her with not one, but four gold medals that she’d won in swimming. To me, she epitomises the courage, resilience and determination represented across our service community. And this is not just because of her swimming abilities.”

He continued: “Ellie has courageously overcome every obstacle to cross her path. She has turned her pain into purpose and led through compassion and willpower, showing others that the impossible is indeed possible. Despite the injuries she endured during her deployment as a medical assistant in Iraq – along with numerous surgeries and setbacks that would have deterred many – she has persevered tirelessly, becoming the first woman in the Army’s world-class athlete program as well as the first swimmer the program had ever seen.

“She’s also taken her recovery a step further, using her experiences and achievements to inspire and assist others in their mental and physical journey into sport, ensuring those who can’t see a way out or through are introduced to the medicine of sport that saved her too.

“For the Invictus community, she has supported so many – coaching Ukraine and Colombia when they’ve needed it the most, always remembering what it was like at the beginning of the healing journey. Ellie, you embody the Invictus spirit for your selfless service, you know that sport doesn’t just save lives, it transforms them for the better. And in finding your own cure, you have helped countless brothers and sisters in staying alive.”

In 2014, Harry established the Invictus Games, a global multi-sport event dedicated to wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women, encompassing both current and former military personnel.

A Thanksgiving service is scheduled for May 8th at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, but it remains uncertain whether the Duke will make the trip from the United States to attend.

The Duke finished by saying: “Your unwavering commitment serves as a beacon of inspiration, offering hope and setting a powerful example for others to follow. I am honoured to call you my friend and can’t thank you enough for being you – and for Mason, your husband, for being so supportive of you.

“To all the service members in the room tonight, past and present, know that your community and indeed the international community is grateful.

“Grateful for all the sacrifices you and your family have made, grateful for your service to your country, grateful for continuing the important values we learnt. Tonight, it’s for you. Thank you for all that you’ve done.”

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