Chad Fleming walked onstage at the Western Conservative Summit to the best standing ovation so far this weekend. An Army Special Operations veteran, Chad is a strong symbol of American heroism and determination. He opened saying that his message for conservatives was: Walk out of this room with your head held a little higher. Let everyone know that you’re proud of your beliefs and the political freedoms we have in this country.
A powerful presence on stage, Chad Fleming shared how the difficulties of his childhood shaped his life and how the ‘bad days’ that he faced were often there for a reason. To make him stronger. His mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness while Chad was in high school. And with his parents already divorced, the burden was placed on him to care for her until she passed a year and a half later.
After college, Chad immediately joined the U.S. Army and he has since been deployed overseas six times as part of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. While there, he was wounded in combat multiple times and eventually underwent an amputation of his left leg, done purposely in hopes of being able to return to combat.
“I don’t care what your beliefs are, but you better support the troops. Because they are the ones allowing you to believe in them,” he said.
The amputation worked. Although he went through an extraordinary series of tests—“nobody wanted to sign off on a guy with one leg going back into a combat zone,” he joked—he did ultimately return to service. After serving with distinction in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, he retired and now he serves our country in other areas. He works as a board member for the “Lone Survivor Foundation,” travels around the country as part of Marcus Luttrell’s Patriot Tour, and continues to share his “Never Quit” message throughout the United States as an inspirational speaker.
Chad’s life was defined by his determination. Determination to care for an ailing parent as a teenager. Determination to serve his country in the military. And determination to continue doing so far beyond the call of duty.
And we as conservatives should be inspired by his story and share in his determination.