U.S. Marine Alex Minsky of Costa Mesa was caught in a downward spiral.
He lost his leg and nearly died in Afghanistan three years ago, when he and his fellow Marines fell victim to a roadside bomb. After recovering from a coma and learning to use his new prosthetic leg, the Purple Heart recipient fell into depression and started drinking.
Then his younger brother died unexpectedly. His drinking and depression got worse.
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He challenged himself to abstain from drinking for one day. That happened to be the day he was discovered by a photographer.
Minsky, now 24, has since been posing for photos, showing off his tattoos, muscles and his war injuries.
"Just because I don't have a leg doesn't mean it's going to slow me down," Minsky said. "I want people to look at me and not give up. Not quit."
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NOTE: This story originally gave the incorrect city for Minsky's residence. It has been corrected.