Danielle Green, former Notre Dame basketball player, challenges ESPY audience to find their purpose


By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

A South Bend woman and former Notre Dame women’s basketball player challenged the ESPY awards audience to find their purpose and build their legacy while accepting the Pat Tillman Award for service at the 2015 ceremony Wednesday night, July 15.

Danielle Green, 38, received the award for her service in the U.S. Army. She previously was awarded with a Purple Heart. Green lost her left hand when a grenade hit her while she was in Iraq in 2004.

“I also lost my wedding rings,” Green said during her speech at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. “That may seem like a small footnote but not to my comrades.”

Those comrades searched through sand for hours and found them, then brought the rings to Green in her hospital room.

“I will never forget that feeling that people cared about me so much that they would risk their own lives for me,” she shared. “The idea that people carrying for one another is still at the core of my life.”

Indeed, helping people remains the focus of Green’s life. She works as a readjustment counselor at a South Bend VA clinic, where she helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and other issues as they integrate back into society.

Giving back to others is part of her legacy.

She challenged people watching the ceremony to consider their own legacy in their daily lives.

“So, if my story leaves you with one thing tonight, I hope it leaves you with a challenge,” she said. “Ask yourself: What’s my purpose? What’s my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being? Not all of us are Pat Tillman, but we can all find ways to serve our community. We can all find ways to support the people around us. We can all find a purpose on this Earth larger than ourselves.”