Earl Granville and the Limitations that Made Him Limitless

A Combat Warriors Journey

“It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war”.

Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

A warrior is a special breed of human being that appears when they are needed the most.  They are the ordinary people who are presented with extraordinary circumstances and rise above, revealing their true character where a hero emerges.  The biggest war that you will ever fight is the war within. The struggle to overcome apathy, what can be defined as directionless.  Training and preparation is essential but until presented with the situation, you never know if you are that warrior or that garden.

Life has a way of slapping you in the face. That slap hurts, it may be humiliating, even temporarily breaking you. But a slap in the face may also jumpstart your ability to change a life that may be stagnating or uncertain. Situations are presented to us for a reason. At first appearance, those situations will never reveal their true intentions, but rather they will remain subversive until such time as your mind is clear and your ears are open. 

Earl Granville was born in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania along with his twin brother Joe. Having a twin brother means that there is a second part of you roaming the Earth. In the world of individuals, twins have the unique experience of never being alone. Though they may be separated at times there is a little piece of them that is mutually shared amongst one another.

With an average youth experience, both boys were never able to show their full potential without a test. That test came in the form of joining the military. Earl was resistant, but his brother Joe insisted, feeling that this was the way to see what both were made of. As twins usually do, they are willing to back their sibling until the end of the earth.

Joining the National Guard in the spring of 2001 seems like a very safe play. We hadn’t had a major conflict in many years so the dangers of going to war were very small. The discipline and structure was something that Earl desperately needed and was looking forward to receiving. He bore  witness to the shift in his personality from directionless to focused. He was that round Peg that finally found the round hole.

Four months into their service the boys witnessed their life change. On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States of America and it was at that time, all military personnel knew the game was on.  It was only a matter of time before deployment was a certainty.  The brothers stood by one another and deployed together. They couldn’t  let one another go overseas without their twin brother watching their back. That feeling of helplessness is the weakness of any warrior, and that’s how you know whether you are that gardner or that warrior. When you see your brothers and arms go off to fight and you cannot be there to assist.

The first employment was as expected, seeing a little combat, but nothing too serious. Both men made it home safely, but Joe was itching to get back into the fight. On the second deployment, Joe was hell-bent on going overseas, while Earl was hesitant. Not one to let his brother go alone, Earl followed Joe back into combat once again , thankfully they both came home one more time connected by blood and connected by combat.

A third opportunity for deployment came up and Earl this time was very interested in going back. Joe, on the other hand, had started a family and was much more hesitant. This time it was Earl who was leading the charge while his brother Joe chose to stay home.

Combat becomes a series of familiar events after a while. While out on patrol, Earl took the gunner’s position, making sure that his convoy was safe and secure. 


Suddenly, Earl opened his eyes with confusion. Silence and muffled voices around, had him searching for a reason why he was no longer in the gunners position. Earl’s vehicle had been hit by a roadside bomb ejecting him from his spot atop the vehicle, while killing many that he rode along with, severely injuring his body.

The immediate medical care, and subsequent flight to Germany, is lost in Earl’s memory. There is very little recollection until waking up with a doctor standing over him, informing this young warrior that the leg would have to be removed.   Earl’s initial response was somewhat humorous by asking the doctor “Can I  keep the leg”?  The doctor, kindly, tried to inform Earl that if he were to keep his leg, there was a high likelihood that he would never be able to walk again. Earl snapped back and asked “no doc that’s not what I’m talking about, after you remove it, can I keep the leg”?  

Obviously, this request couldn’t be granted and Earl’s leg had to be removed. Thankfully the rehabilitation process took place in the United States, giving Joe the chance to see his wounded brother. The look on Joe‘s face was alarming to Earl, as he had never seen such blankness in his twin brother. Joe felt somewhat responsible for not being there to watch his brothers 6 position as warriors refer to watching their comrades back. 

The weight of this sat on Joe so heavily that ultimately, Joe took his life. Earl Granville just had his leg severed and now this second part of him was forever cut off, never to return.   The bond and connection was immediately broken and for the first time in Earl‘s life, and now he was alone.

“What was he gonna do without his twin brother”? “What is life going to look like”? “Was this my fault for deploying without my brother”? These are all questions that Earl asked himself on a daily basis.   Earl had been presented with an unknown circumstance that there was no way to find out his reaction and no training could’ve ever prepared him for.

There are two paths that Earl could’ve walked at this point in his life, will he play the victim or be the victor. His future was unsure due to his recent limitations. He was without a leg and without a brother. 

Thankfully, Earl chose to take victory over defeat. He was in a unique position to inspire others. His limitation, having one leg, drove him to see how far his capabilities could bring him. He now has an opportunity to inspire rather than just exist.  Earl began to take advantage of the provided sports training for wounded vets, and was fitted with a prosthetic leg, which allowed him to participate in activities he could’ve never dreamt were possible. Training his body but more importantly, training his mind to be limitless. With one leg, Earl now runs marathons. Most people with two functioning legs will never accomplish such a goal.

Earl continues to inspire those around him through his work with many non-profits such as Operation Enduring Warrior, the Oscar Mike Foundation and Warrior Strong. These 501c3s help keep wounded and disabled veterans and law enforcement physically active after their injuries. Earl is a motivational speaker which, has inspired so many to push past their self imposed boundaries. 

It took several unfortunate events for Earl Granville to reach his full potential. And full potential is a slippery slope because it is very evident that Earl does not see any limitations in his future. He will continue to inspire, but more importantly, live life to the fullest because his brother cannot. Earl is now that warrior in a garden as he is no longer active in the military but challenging himself to always see what is possible, showing what can be accomplished with the proper mindset and the never quit attitude that he exhibits every day.

Do you want to share your story and inspire our readers ? Know that every story is paving the way for a brighter, happier future.

Kevin P. Donaldson
Kevin P. Donaldson

An accomplished author, seasoned Motivational Speaker and Podcast Host, Kevin P. Donaldson is known for transforming the lives of audiences. His talks are attended by people of all ages and backgrounds. Kevin's approach toward finding success and healing is approached by embracing your pain and running toward it head-on.

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