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Kriesel is speaker at EDC awards banquet Feb. 21

John Kriesel

John Kriesel, who was seriously wounded in December 2006 while deployed with an Army National Guard unit in Iraq, is the guest speaker for St. Croix EDC's 2012 Business of the Year banquet on Thursday, Feb. 21, at R&D Banquet Hall just south of New Richmond.

Staff Sergeant Kriesel lost his legs and two fellow soldiers as a result of a roadside bomb while on patrol near Fallujah. No one expected him to survive, but he endured 35 surgeries in four hospitals and months of recovery. Kriesel said the loss of two close friends hurt the most.

In July 2009, Kriesel and writer Jim Kosmo, put his story into a book entitled, "Still Standing." Kriesel and Kosmo say the book is a story of an ordinary man who overcame extraordinary challenges with the help of friends, family and total strangers to emerge stronger and more in love with his country, wife, children and ultimately, his own life. Kosmo created the book in the first person, present tense, using Kriesel's voice so that readers can walk with John on his amazing journey.

The book is filled with numerous acts of kindness for Staff Sgt. Kriesel. His wife Katie was invaluable to his recovery. Through the help of friends and strangers, Katie managed to obtain a passport in less than 24 hours to fly to Germany where Kriesel was recovering. After they returned to the U.S., she literally lived in a chair next to John for eight months and become a non-medical attendant.

"Still Standing" is the recipient of eight national book awards. Books will be available at the Feb. 21 banquet for sale and signing.

Today, Kriesel inspires students, veterans, and church groups at frequent speaking engagements. He shares a vision of hope for anyone who encounters any form of personal crisis.

Kriesel serves as the Director of the Veteran Services office for Anoka County, Minn., and is a part-time host with KFAN Radio. He served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2010-2012.

Earlier this month the EDC announced its top businesses for 2012. They include Hudson Brewing Company LLC (Hudson) as Emerging Business of the year; NDT Solutions, Inc. (New Richmond) as Small Business of the Year, and Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc. (New Richmond) as Business of the Year (large category).

The banquet is open to the public but reservations are required. The cost of the dinner is $30 per person and the deadline to RSVP is Feb. 11. A banquet invitation and reservation card is available online at or by contacting Jacki Bradham of St. Croix EDC at (715) 381-4383 or