|2017 MTA Convention Keynote Speakers|
Meet our Keynote and Special Issues Luncheon Speakers
If Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was writing his incredibly popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking, today he would need to add a separate chapter on John Kriesel.
In 2006 Kriesel was nearly blown to shreds by a 200 pound roadside bomb in the parched sands of Iraq, but battlefield angels in army uniforms kept him breathing long enough to reach a field hospital. He died three times and was shocked back to life. Somehow he survived through four hospitals, 35 surgeries and months of recovery. He lost both legs and suffered numerous other major injuries, but it was the loss of two close friends that hurt the most.
The guy who wasn’t supposed to survive and was told he probably would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life walked out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center after nine months. Working with author Jim Kosmo, Kriesel reveals his motivational story in Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel, winner of eight national book awards.
Four years after his near-death experience in Iraq, Kriesel became a civilian marketing employee with the Minnesota Army National Guard and in 2012 was named Director of Veterans Services for Anoka County. He also is a part time host on KFAN Sports Radio and former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. He was elected to the House in 2010 after a vigorous campaign where he was told a Republican could not win in his district, never had. He personally visited several thousand homes in all weather conditions and literally wore out the socket in one of his prosthetic legs. He won. After tours of duty in Kosovo and Iraq and a lengthy medical recovery Kriesel’s two sons wanted to spend more time with him and he chose not to run for re-election.
As a legislator he was anything but a quiet freshman challenging even his own party and frequently speaking his mind. “Kriesel’s honesty is a breath of fresh air at the Capitol,” declared the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He served as vice chair of the Veterans Services Committee and member of the Capital Investment, Judiciary, and Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committees. In addition to serving veterans in Anoka County and being a frequent voice on KFAN Radio he continues to share his upbeat, motivational message with students, corporate executives, veterans and others, when appearances don’t interfere with family activities.
Kriesel lives with his wife Katie and sons Elijah and Brody in Cottage Grove, MN.
Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel is available in print, eBook, and audio through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and through our publisher at www.ItascaBooks.com.
Ron Kresha has been involved in education since 1994. He is a former coach, teacher, curriculum coordinator and technology specialists. In 2000, he co-founded Atomic Learning in Little Falls which specialized in online professional development internationally. Ron has been active in preparing and developing students to be successful in school and post-high school. As a curriculum coordinator, he focused efforts on making sure early learners were successful and that students have a stable, loving learning environment. Kresha was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2012 and has been an outspoken supporter of early learners. Ron and his wife have been married for 22 years and have one son and four daughters.