Veteran Shares Inspirational Story With UW-Superior Students
"I didn't think I was going to survive," said John Kriesel.
SUPERIOR, Wis. – A Minnesota National Guard veteran who beat all odds after surviving a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq visited the University of Wisconsin– Superior to share his journey with students and the community.
John Kriesel, a native of Cottage Grove, served in the National Guard for ten years.
In 2006, he volunteered to deploy to Iraq, where his life changed forever.
While in Iraq, john and his unit were given the mission to protect an area of land.
The unit constantly patrolled and guarded the area to ensure safety.
But on December 2, 2006, a day he considered good as it can get in Iraq, a 200-pound roadside bomb buried underground exploded beneath their military vehicle.
“There are days that I still can’t believe what happened to me. I’ll never forget after the bomb blast I was awake. I was knocked out initially, ” said Kriesel. “I woke up on the ground saw my legs were severely injured. I’d lost a tremendous about of blood. I didn’t think I was going to survive.”
Kriesel was rushed to the hospital where he nearly died three times before doctors were able to revive him.
The bombing resulted in Kriesel losing both his legs.
Two of his military buddies also lost their lives that fateful day.
Kriesel hopes his story inspires others to never give up.
“It doesn’t matter what adversity we face. It’s the attitude we that will help us overcome it and really overcome anything in life,” said Kriesel.
One student in the audience says Kriesel’s story will help him and other students get through the tough times.
“Being a college student, there is a lot is on your plate. When dealing with work, family and school, it helps having a positive mindset,” said Cole Kopp.
As the anniversary the bomb blast approaches, which Kriesel calls his “Alive Day”, it is just a reminder of his friends that he lost.
H says he is grateful to be alive to spread such inspirational messages.
As a motivational speaker, Kriesel travels across the country to share his story.
He also has a book called “Still Standing,” which has won eight national book awards.