'Tough as Nails' Winner Kelly Murphy Works With Veterans at a Missouri University

Who is 'Tough as Nails' winner Kelly Murphy? He's an ex-marine that helps veterans at the University of Central Missouri. Get the scoop.

Tatayana Yomary - Author

Feb. 25 2021, Updated 1:33 p.m. ET

If you’re a fan of badass reality competition shows that showcase strength and perseverance, you're likely familiar with the CBS show Tough As Nails. Not only does this show highlight hard-working Americans from all over the country, it allows the contestants to compete for the grand prize of $200,000 and a Ford Super Duty truck.

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And while plenty of people have put their hat into the ring to be crowned champion, only one person can win. And if you’re an avid watcher of the show, the first winner of the show — Kelly Murphy— may have piqued your interest. After all, he’s a tough guy and his story has inspired viewers all across the country. With that in mind, it's only right to learn more about Kelly’s life. 

Kelly Murphy works as the director of the Military and Veterans Center at the University of Central Missouri.

We can all agree that it can be hard for veterans to get back on their feet after serving our country. Whether they're dealing with mental illnesses, injuries, or simply readjusting to life, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. And since Kelly is an ex-marine, he sympathizes with those who have served. 

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According to the University of Central Missouri, Kelly left home at 18 for U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Training, and went on to serve in the military for 22 years prior to his retirement in June 2012. During his final year in the service, he was a Senior Marine who was deployed with 210 other Marines who safely returned home after fulfilling a mission overseas.

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So, it makes perfect sense that he now works to aid veterans on the UMC campus. In his Tough as Nails bio, he shared that "most of his day is spent talking to veterans and ensuring they have everything they need to be successful at the university."

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And Kelly always has his work cut out for him while assisting veterans and their loved ones. He also shared that "people would be surprised at how many veterans or veterans' family members we serve."

Kelly has two daughters and a son.

While most Tough as Nails contestants have been pretty open about their personal lives, Kelly has kept things close to the vest. And although there is no telling if he is in a relationship or married, we have seen the star dote on his children every chance he gets.

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According to Kelly's Instagram page, he frequently shares photos of his children, two daughters and a son. In fact, one of his daughters, Shelby, is reportedly following in his footsteps by joining the Navy.

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It's unclear whether the rest of Kelly's children have the U.S. Navy on their radar, but the Tough As Nails winner always makes it a point to share memories and snaps of his kids often.

There's no denying that Kelly made history as the first champion of Tough as Nails. And since he is such a champion for the betterment of veterans, many of his fans are looking forward to seeing what he will do next. 

Catch Season 2 of Tough as Nails at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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