The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Thanks to iReporter Joel David Hinrichs, CNN has obtained additional photos of Ben Baltz, the 11-year-old boy who won the hearts of the internet this week.
This past Sunday, Ben took part in Florida's Sea Turtle Tri Kids triathlon. Not the typical athlete, Ben lost his right leg to bone cancer at the tender age of six, having his fibula and tibia removed. He now uses a mechanical knee and prosthetic leg to help him walk.
Ben had already swam 150 yards, biked 4 miles and had powered halfway through his one-mile run when a screw came loose and his running leg broke in half.
Meanwhile, Kim Baltz waited at the finish line wondering why her son hadn’t crossed yet.
“It was only a mile, I knew he was tired, I was like, ‘Where is he, where is he, where is he?’" she told CNN iReport.
But before further worry set in, she heard the announcer tell the crowd to turn around and look at what was happening on the course. What followed was a heartwarming display that she'll never forget.
Matthew Morgan, Private First Class at Marine Detachment Corry Station, took notice when Ben's leg broke and carried him on his back for the remainder of the one-mile stretch, accompanied by his fellow Marines.
The photos of the Marines were taken by Ben Kruggel and soon after he shared them with iReport, the story went viral –- gaining more than 225,000 views and getting reposted on sites like BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Mail, among countless others. Ben and Private Morgan were also featured on HLN’s Evening Express.
But the story didn't stop there. iReporter Joel David, who attended the event to support his 9-year-old sister, sent in additional photos of Ben competing in the race before his prosthetic leg broke.
"I photographed several other children, but there was something inspiring about Ben that caused me to focus on him," David said. "He had an inspiring look of determination and I wanted to capture that emotion in a photo."
As Ben and the Marines crossed the finish line, spectators at the event were brought to tears, cheering and pouring out support.
That support has continued to spread across the web, and his mom couldn't be happier to share his story with the world.
“We want to give him the message that he can do anything, and he has an inspirational story, and he just needs to be thankful that he is able to do it because there are a lot of kids out there that are still fighting cancer,” Kim said. “We just want him to get out there and participate in life.”
Awesome! An expert example of why our troop deserve better than "force reduction" and benefit discontinuations.
We don't pay these folks enough.
Semper Fi Marines! Outstanding!
Just another example of honor and valor at work.
And Ben? Sounds to me like this young man has his head screwed on straight and knows already what hard work and determination are. Well done Ben and I look forward to reading more of your accomplishments in the years to come. I'm sure we will be hearing more of this young man.
This is the true American spirit, a young determined Ben and the Marines always willing to lend a helping hand. This was once the way ALL of America was. We aren't any more.
Good on you Marine! And good on you young man for not giving up, you have no reason to feel upset that you did not finish under your own power, YOU DID, it was the poser and spirit that you provided that sparked something in the Marines to help you, that special something that brought the crowd to tears and cheers. As a USAF guy I can tell you that seeing a young man or woman with challenges giving it their all inspire me to make myself better and worthy of serving our country. To coin a phrase that was used when I was at a Joint Service organization ---Aim High, With Flowing Seas, To Be All That YOU Can Be, Semper Fi! (Older servie mottos). Carry on Young Man, Carry On!
You Marines make me proud to be an American! Men of fine character, courage and honor...
That's great support I'm touched and proud of the US Armed Forces - As Canadians we are still brothers
Semper Fi young Marine, you've got what it takes.
Without a doubt, were it not for Ben Baltz's handicap, Ben too would have made an excellent Marine. I do believe our Marines saw that from the start and helped him out no differently than they would have helped out another downed Marine. Go Ben and become the same excellent man as those that helped you this day. All these young men make me proud to be an American!
I am moved to tears - by the determination of the young man and the support he received from the Marines. What a beautiful story.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Golf, Marine! Same to you, Ben!
Good job. Makes me a little more alive on the inside when I know there are still people who still give a shit.
To all Americans!!! Remember this story about Ben and the Marines. There are only 1% of us that have served this country and these young marines have kept the faith and have demostrated that they care about you as well. Just like Ben in his time of need, they were there to give a helping hand.
Some motivated devil dogs on the job! Gotta love it.
Bravo! Love It!! I think any of us in here would do the same, yes? Maybe this is what the phrase 'It takes a village' means.
I am Crying Right Now !
What a wonderful heart warming story! WTG BEN!!! It is ashame that E5viation had to make a political statememt. Politics and bravery should never be seen together. Please never compare a politican to a hero, there is no comparison EViation EVER!
Semper Fi, Marines and Ben. We never leave anyone behind! (SGT 68-72).
Finally, a feelgood story and the appropriate comments from readers to go with it. Doesn't happen often, unfortunately.
Let's blame Obama
why can't people like THIS run for congress !! I am talking about both Ben and the Marines. This is the "spirit" we need to led the nation, NOT what we have in there right now.
Ok I wasn't even there and just reading this makes me cry.
What a wonderful story! I am beyond proud of Ben and our Marines! I have the honor of being married to a Devil Dog myself, and there are no finer men than the U.S. Marines! Semper Fidelis - YAT YAS!
God bless our men and women in uniform. And, for you, Ben, my heartfelt admiration. And, for you, young Ben, you are an inspiration to us all, young and old alike.
My late grandfather told me once: "What would life be if we didn't have the valor to try something, anything?" And that is exactly what we can see here! Ben, what you have done by competing in such a strenuous competition goes beyond what you thought you'd do. This will allow others to go out there and try things without worrying on how they will do. As far as the Marines, OORAH!!!! This is exactly why I am so proud of been an American!! Soldiers that go beyond their calling, duties, and responsibilities. God bless you all!!
@Clector: "Let's blame Obama." Yeah, let's vote for Romney and guarantee these young men and veterans of all wars don't get the assitance they need. These guy are part of the 47% Romney dismisses. Too bad our media has failed us, over and over again. Vote GOP and, unless you're wealthy, you're hurting those in the military, the poor and the middle class. Simple as that. Obama's not great shakes, but Romney would be a complete disaster.
Well I feel a bit better about humanity after reading this. People that hate on our troops and call them killers should look at this. For the most part they're good hearted people that want to serve and help others, like this. Both the Marines here and Ben are inspirations.
Nice thing my only thing is the guy on the left the dark guy looks a tad bit overweight glad he's running.
I am touched by the courage of Ben and proud to be a Marine. Semper Fi.
Those terrific marines obviously recognized in Ben a kindred spirit. Hoorah!
This is the kind of story that I love to see. It reminds me of the Hollies song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother
So on we go
You keep on going young Ben, we are very proud of you. And thank you to this wonderful young Marine for carrying his "brother" and to the other Marines for cheering them on. God Bless each of you ~ you certainly are an inspiration.
God bless the United States Marines!!!
............after reading the article i was on my tear.......i salute the marines and the boy who passed all the hurdles of life,,,,,,,,,,,,god bless you
Way to go Marines! Way to go Ben! You are thew best of the best. As the Roman historian Ovid said, "Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat" - Fortune favors the brave.
Prime example of how this great country stands on the shoulders of our Armed Forces. Extraordinary!
I think it safe to say that the Marines get it and so does Ben. Character runs deep in this group!
CNN, please put this as your main front page story.
This is by far the best and most inspirational story I have read in months.
Amazing job to these young marines and the young lad as well.
And great job to CNN for this story.
All our servicemen are great! However, this is why I joined the marines many moons ago......always doing the "heavy lifting", literally......you make us ALL proud....thank you!
Semper Fi, God Bless Ben and the Marine Corps!!
These photographs tell a wonderful story; a story that our men and women who Serve can be proud of. As well as a very, very special young man. I trust his future will be as wonderful.
I think Ben is more abled than 99.999% of his peers and would make a fine Marine if he chooses. That kid has some heart. Semper Fi, young warrior.
Selfless devotion to serve and protect those who can't. Outstanding job Marines. The Corps is proud of you warriors, warriors to the core.
Esprit de corps, Marines are not just warrior for blood. They are America's heros for the heart as well. Motivated Hoorah!!!!
BOO YAH! Incredible kid and ordinary Marines. Always faithful, taking care of business both at home and abroad. I always wanted to enlist, but some medical reasons prevented me. Support the troops because they support us without us asking, and never ask for anything in return.
Simply very cool.
I am sure Ben would have wanted to finish on his own and he will,on a better built leg,next time.
Kudos to the Marines who helped him.
Hey Ben,DUDE -YOU RULE!-TEN THUMBS UP!
This is what we are about !
Since 1775, the Marines have been there when we need them. Marine Corps, hard-core. Hope they kept those cadences G-rated.
It is moments like this that renews ones faith that their are Americans still out there that don't put making a buck, or asking, "What's in it for me" before they take action to extend a hand up to another human being... way to go Marine!!
This was truly great. Marines are the best in our society.
BUT this should in no way be interpretted that we should
support more WAR just because marines are great. It a huge waste of life, of "America's Finest" to continue theses bad usells wars.
I say we make Ben an honorary Marine. Semper Fi gents!!
What beautiful souls that met in the most unexpected way. Ben, I know your mother has no words to describe how very proud she is of you, and of Matthew for stepping in to help you finish your journey. I can't imagine how she felt watching Matthew carrying Ben across the finish line. What an incredible mom who raised such a determined young man. PFC Matthew Morgan, you are an angel disguised as a marine, so proud to know there are still good decent people like you in this world. Ben, you have proven that even though there was tragedy first, there are great things waiting in the future. I hope this was just the beginning of a lifetime friendship for you both.
Way to go Marines.
When the rest of the country follows the Millitary's lead and realizes we can all live and work together we will be better off.
I had a High School friend that became a Marine and was killed in Vietnam in 1967. After Obama was elected, his friends and family (along with all minorities with a service member)can say his death was not in vain. In America anyone can become President.
Eliminate race from the equation. I've taught my kids to us the Will Rogers approach. He said he never met a person he didn't like. I used the same approach, assume you will like someone when you meet them, it may take one second afterwards to dislike them. The key is to approach everyone as an individual first and not a Catagory.
Notice the picture from the event. Those were GREEN Americans, not race, rising to the occasion.
From a 1967 Geezer Marine, Semper Fi Marines. Keep up the good work Marines and all Servicves.
Go Ben, and way to go Marines!
As a former Marine Infantry Officer, I can tell you Marines help those who help themselves and support winners. This young man fully qualifies under both categories! Semper Fi!
Never leave a man behind!
My son (who looks a LOT like the big redheaded guy on the right) is at Corry Station right now, a Navy Seaman, and he posted this story on FB for us here in California. This is the sort of thing he too, would do. So proud of our people in uniform!!!!
True Marine Spirit Semper Fi Devil Dogs!
The true American spirit....never give up, and help your buddy if he's down.
That's what has kept America so healthy for so long.
And that is what will see America through the tough times.
Salute to all our blessed service men and women, and to Ben and all the kids like him.
You are an inspiration.
This brought tears to my eyes! What a tremendous story. The determination of this young boy is inspiring. And the compassion of our Marines.... SEMPER FI!
That's cheating, isn't it?
So why does Paul Ryan want to cut benefits for military families to pay for tax breaks for millionaires?
Great story and act of selflessness by these fellow Marines to assist Ben Baltz
More than Marines the kid is cool, I am sure he will our run many competitors in future events.
@E5Aviation - True rather than paying Defence Contractors right?
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