When Marine Corps Veteran Kelly Murphy began an Instagram account to document his workouts, he never dreamed that it would lead him to becoming the winner of CBS’ “Tough as Nails” competition show. He left the set $200,000 dollars richer and the owner of a brand-new Ford F-150.

In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Murphy talks about life in the Marines, helping student Veterans find their place in civilian life and winning season one of the CBS competition show Tough as Nails.

Murphy also works for the University of Central Missouri. He helps with outreach and recruitment for the university as well as mentors and helps student Veterans with their transition to civilian life.

Murphy reflects on his own difficulties with transitioning to civilian life and advises Veterans currently separating from the military: “Go find your tribe to hang out with; go find your fellow Veterans, because it’ll help you.”

Though he is retired from the Marine Corps, Murphy continues to maintain his physical strength and fitness. When the Instagram account he created to document his workouts gained a following, he was approached by the casting director of Tough as Nails. Of his time on the show, Murphy says: “It brought me back… to my Marine Corps days. The show kind of made me feel like my old self again.”


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By Maggie Thomas is a writing intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. She's majoring in International Studies and Spanish at the University of Mississippi.

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Published on Nov. 8, 2021

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

Views to date: 712

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