BOISE, IDAHO (CNN) -- An Idaho couple makes you believe that true love does exist. A photo of the former Marine on his wife's back has gone viral and his hitting the hearts of thousands.

Marine Staff Sergeant Jesse Cottle's world was forever changed in 2009. He says, "We were on an IED clearing mission on foot, it's not the safest job you could choose."

Jesse's job was to find and dismantle improvised explosive devices. He says, "About five hours into that patrol, into that mission, I was struck by an anti-personnel IED. It was a pressure plate, I stepped on it and lost both legs right away."

The explosion was caught on camera. He says, "I remember most everything I was awake the whole time. It was tough and it is tough in general, but I just kind of always had the attitude that it's really tough now but things will just be okay, and I had my family around me I had good friends and basically just my faith really helped me to carry me through and I was lucky to be able to go through the tough recovery, and then still live my life, and meet my beautiful wife."

He met Kelly during his recovery. She was swimming for Boise State the time. Jesse says, "I met her at a swim meet in San Diego." Kelly says, "And I just remember being very intrigued by him. He was just very different and not because of his legs, just who he was."

They were married in 2012. They live in San Diego now but they were in Idaho visiting Kelly's family. While they were here they took family portraits. Kelly says, "It was a normal photo shoot, we finally got together and Jessie had his legs on and everything."

Photographer Sarah Ledford suggested a picture in the water. Kelly says, "So we said 'Well, you can just pop off your legs and get on one of our backs and we'll take you in' and so, because that's just how we get around sometimes, like at the beach. We do it all the time. It's just pretty normal, so he hopped back on my back and then Sarah's like 'Oh, we'll take some couples shots.'"

Ledford posted one of those shots on her Facebook page. She had no idea the image of Kelly carrying Jesse on her back would get the reaction it did. She says, "Overwhelming, I can't even keep up with my page,"

The photo got thousands of likes and hundreds of shares and comments. Ledford says, "The picture just blew up, America just fell in love with Jesse and Kelly."

Jesse says, "It again, I'm just speechless. Having that kind of impact it's very humbling. My first reaction was wanting to reply to each one, but then they kept coming."

Now, Jesse and Kelly are an inspiration to thousands and a reminder of the sacrifices being made by our military every day.

Read or Share this story: