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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 Veteran Services for a county in Suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also is a part-time contributor 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 he could not win in his district. 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 family 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. In addition to serving veterans in the Twin Cities and being a frequent voice on KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show, he continues to share his upbeat, motivational message with businesses and organizations throughout the United States.

“Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel” is available in print, eBook, and audio through, Barnes & Noble and through the publisher at



John KRIESEL 2020 sizzle reel




A sought after motivational speaker, John Kriesel travels throughout the country sharing his story, inspiring and motivating others. Kriesel’s intensely positive attitude infects every person he presents to, from cub scouts to senior corporate executives as he relays lessons learned overcoming extreme tragedy.

john kriesel



John Kriesel somehow survived a roadside bombing that claimed his legs and two buddies. Although his story has been often told in the media, it's still hard not to feel something as you read this all-too-real tale of tragedy and hope.


In "Still Standing" written with Jim Kosmo), Kriesel's account of what happened that day -- Dec. 2, 2006 -- puts the reader right inside that armored Humvee, right in Kriesel's Army boots. You don't have to have served near Fallujah to know what Kriesel experienced. It's all here -- and in mind-blowing detail.






Click below to view John's headshots, suggested introduction, biography, and more.

CHS, Inc.

"John Kriesel's inspirational message to our top sales team was touching, funny and full of descriptive stories and personal insights"

Minnesota Wild

John presented his story to a group of business leaders and Minnesota Wild clients.  The audience was completely engaged and inspired.  Even weeks later, attendees are still talking about how authentic and powerful his message was.

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Thomson Reuters

“John’s story had me simultaneously wiping tears from my eyes while smiling and laughing.  A truly inspiring reminder that life is to be cherished, life is short, and life is good.”

Target Corporation

“Thanks so much for your inspirational visit to Target and sharing your message.  I am so thankful for people like you who can take a horrific event and share what matters most."



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