“Still Standing” selected for county reading program

COM_Still StandingWashington County wants us all to read a book.

The “One County, One Book” selection for January is “Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel,” by John Kriesel as told to Jim Kosmo.

War veteran John Kriesel wrote “Still Standing” after losing both legs in a roadside explosion in Iraq.

War veteran John Kriesel wrote “Still Standing” after losing both legs in a roadside explosion in Iraq.

Kriesel served in the Minnesota Army National Guard from 1998 to 2008. As a staff sergeant stationed at Camp Fallujah in Iraq, he lost his legs in a roadside bomb explosion. Two of his friends died in the attack, and he was not expected to survive. Kriesel almost died three times on the operating table.

He underwent 35 surgeries and months of rehabilitation, and now has prosthetic legs.

For his service he received the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He lives with his wife Katie and sons Elijah and Brody in Cottage Grove.

Kriesel works as a private marketing and advertising contractor to the Minnesota Army National Guard, contributes to a radio program, and volunteers as a motivational speaker.

In 2010 he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 57A, which includes parts of Dakota and Washington counties. He serves on the Capital Investment, Judiciary Policy and Finance, and Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance committees. He is also vice chair of the State Government Finance Subcommittee for the Veterans Services Division.

In 2011 Kriesel was one of only four Republicans who voted against sending to referendum a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Jim Kosmo

Jim Kosmo

Capt. Jim Kosmo is a retired riverboat pilot and Merchant Marine officer.

He also worked as a military journalist, crime reporter, and newspaper managing editor. His public relations career included jobs with an advertising agency, the Twin Cities Area Metropolitan Transit Commission, and the American Medical Association.

The former Bayport mayor is president of the Rotary Club of St. Paul. In 2012 he founded Author’s Advocate to help writers through the jungle of self publishing.

The motivational memoir “Still Standing” has received eight national book awards.

Copies of the book are available for loan at all Washington County Library branches.

Both Hardwood Creek Library book clubs will discuss this book as their January selection. The Third Tuesday book club will meet  at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, and the Third Thursday book club at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17.

Readers can also share comments on the Washington County (MN) Library Facebook page.

Adults and teens are invited to hear the author speak and answer questions at the R. H. Stafford Library in Woodbury at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

The “One County, One Book” project is sponsored by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Last year’s selection was “The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared.” In that book author Alice Ozma told of the decision she and her father made, when she was in fourth grade, that he would read aloud to her every night for 100 consecutive nights. In fact, her father read to her every night until she left for college.

For more information contact Washington County Library Public Services Manager Joe Manion at 651-275-8502 or Joe.Manion@co.washington.mn.us.

  • Kathy

    Thank you Joe Manion for picking a great book to share with the county. We made this book required reading for our family – it didn’t take much to reinforce that requirment as this book is truly inspirational and a true draw to the mind and the heart to read. My family was greatful for the experience. Thank you John and Jim for taking the time to share this story with us on paper. John’s great attitude in overcoming being injured, losing both legs to an ied, is truly a life lesson for us all. Listening to him personally share his story when he came to Forest Lake is something I will always remember – Go see him speak!!!!! The emotion about being scared to see his kids, because of how they might react to him, for the first time since losing his legs was poignant. The joy when they were glad to see him was heart rendering as a parent. The love story and commitment of his wife through this life altering situation was a love story for the ages.

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