Back from the Dead - Purple Heart Recipient John Kriesel


In a moment, John Kriesel’s entire life changed. While serving in Iraq, John’s vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. After being thrown from his vehicle, he regained consciousness to find himself with a badly broken arm, both legs twisted and severely damaged, and numerous shrapnel wounds. Three times John died on operating tables only to be resuscitated by doctors. In the months of recovery that followed, John persevered through challenges with his family. He learned to walk again. He adapted to his new lifestyle. He redefined his goals as he put his life back together. All this was made possible by John’s endless optimism and an incredible amount of physical and mental toughness.

In this interview, John shares his experience of serving in the military, his challenges in returning to civilian life after enduring 35 surgeries, what it was like to have the United States President award him the Purple Heart, and the power of optimism. John also discusses his decision to run for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2010 and how he built the beautiful life he lives today.

John joined the military when he was just 17 years old. As a young man, he elected to serve a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006. Following his return to civilian life, John won a position as a representative in the Minnesota House of Representatives where he was one of few Republicans to oppose legislation that would have made same-sex marriage illegal. As an advocate for the veteran community, John now works as Veteran Services Director for Anoka County in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. John also regularly shares his story as a motivational speaker and has authored a book called Still Standing which details his time in Iraq and his amazing recovery.

You can find John Kriesel’s Book, Still Standing at 

To learn more about John, visit his site at

Follow John on social media @JohnKriesel (Twitter and Instagram)

Resources for veterans:

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Resources for lifestyle and mental health -