August 19, 2021

Rep. Mike Levin Honors Marine Corps Veteran and Accomplished Para Athlete as Constituent of the Month

sarah rudder

Oceanside, CA – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) announced that Sarah Rudder, a Marine Corps veteran from Oceanside and accomplished para athlete, is the August Constituent of the Month. After the 9/11 attacks twenty years ago, Sarah Rudder’s dream of a long career in the Marine Corps came to an end when she sustained a career-ending ankle injury while recovering bodies from the ruins of the Pentagon in September 2001.

After being forced to medically retire, living with post-traumatic stress, and ultimately needing to amputate her left leg below the knee, Sarah found her sense of purpose once more in the fitness regimen CrossFit and coaching for the Catch a Lift Fund, a nonprofit that provides fitness grants, equipment and nutrition to combat-wounded veterans.

See below for Rep. Levin’s statement recognizing Sarah Rudder in the Congressional Record:

“Madam Speaker, it is my great honor to recognize the incredibly resilient and athletically talented Marine Corps veteran, Sarah Rudder, as my August Constituent of the Month. As a young girl, Sarah knew she wanted to be a Marine after watching an air show and the Silent Drill Platoon perform. She accomplished her goal, but in the wake of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. her dream of a long career in the Marine Corps came to a close. While recovering bodies in the rubble of the famous building, Sarah sustained a career-ending ankle injury, forcing her to medically retire, and ultimately leading to amputation of her left leg below the knee.

“Following her career ending injury, Sarah struggled to find the purpose and commitment that she felt while serving in the military. After being medically retired from the military, Sarah volunteered as an online coach for the Catch a Lift Fund, a nonprofit that provides fitness grants, equipment, and nutrition to combat-wounded veterans. It was within this program that Sarah launched her path to competitive fitness. After chronic pain, depression, and post-traumatic stress, her fitness journey morphed into a sense of therapy, helping to ease her stress and bring back the routine and drive she missed as a Marine.

“Sarah’s best course of action to relieve some of the strain and pain on her body from the original injury was to have her leg amputated below the knee. With her new sense of relief and a fitted prosthetic leg, she got serious about the fitness regimen CrossFit. In 2015, Sarah tried out for the Warrior Games, an annual competition put on by the Department of Defense for wounded active-duty service members and veterans. Sarah did so well that when she returned in 2016, she qualified to compete for Team USA at that year’s Invictus Games, a global competition for wounded service members that was started in 2014 by Britain’s Prince Harry. During her two years competing for Team USA at Invictus, Rudder won a dozen gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter running events, along with the 1-minute sprint row, shotput, discus, swimming, seated volleyball, and power lifting.

“Overcoming a life-changing injury is an incredible challenge, and I am inspired by the strength and perseverance Sarah has embodied in her recovery journey. I thank Sarah for her service to our country, for her dedication to helping other disabled veterans in similar circumstances, and her unwavering drive to be her very best. I’m proud to honor Sarah Rudder as my August Constituent of the Month.”

Representative Levin’s Constituent of the Month program recognizes outstanding North County San Diego and South Orange County Residents who have gone above and beyond to help their neighbors, give back to their community, and represent the best of our country. Rep. Levin’s July Constituent of the Month was local retired elementary school principal Julie Parker. His June Constituent of the Month was Joel Parker, a 17-year old Paralympian from Encinitas.

To nominate a resident of the 49th District to be the Constituent of the Month, fill out this nomination form.