NEW YORK (WABC) -- In honor of the U.S. Army's 248th birthday on Wednesday, a special veteran was named an Honorary Marshal for the 2023 New York City Veterans Day Parade.
With deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq, Elana Duffy received the Purple Heart after losing part of her leg to an explosive blast in Iraq in 2005.
Since her retirement from service, she has been actively engaged in serving her fellow veterans.
"There's a life afterwards, there's a life after injury, there's a life after service and there's still so much that we can all contribute," Duffy said.
Duffy was selected to represent not only women in the Army, but as an ambassador for its enlisted personnel.
"It's pretty cool to be named a marshal after being home for 10 years," Duffy said.
Duffy enlisted in the Army after getting engineering degrees from Cornell. She became an intelligence agent before she was injured in the roadside bomb attack.
Injuries to her brain and ankle forced her early retirement from the military in 2012 but her true courage was on display in 2019 when she chose to have part of her leg amputated.
"I was in so much pain all the time, I'm back to where I want to be and in so much less pain and so much happier," Duffy said.
Now at the age of 43, she is devoted to helping other veterans with her New York-based company Pathfinder.
As she leads this year's parade, she will undoubtedly inspire others with the choices she has made.
"Joining the Army after college and enlisting was not a conventional choice and having your leg amputated, my leg was not a conventional choice, but they were necessary," Duffy said.
Duffy will support previously announced Grand Marshal General Mike Linnington in leading the Parade's honorary committee.
The New York Veterans Day Parade is the nation's largest commemoration of service event. The Army is this year's featured service.
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