About the Author Jim Kosmo -- www.JimKosmo.com
Capt. Jim Kosmo retired as a Mississippi riverboat pilot with the Padelford Riverboat Co., St. Paul, MN in 2009 to spend more time writing. He recently wrote Still Standing: The Story of SSG John Kriesel, a motivational memoir about a Minnesota National Guard soldier who was very seriously injured in Iraq. Still Standing has received seven national book awards.
Kosmo seved as president (2013-14) for the Rotary Club of St. Paul (MN) and serves as business representative on the Minnesota National Guard Senior Advisory Task Force. He is a former Bayport mayor and city council member, founder of two endowed scholarship programs, and member of the St. Paul Rotary Foundation Board and other community service organizations.
Before joining the family riverboat business, a major Twin Cities tourist attraction, in 1980 Kosmo produced the U.S. Air Force’s best base newspaper in 1963, was decorated at the Pentagon, and he served as a military journalist throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis and launch of the Vietnam War. Returning to civilian life he quickly moved from crime reporter in Las Vegas (NV) to managing editor of a chain of suburban newspapers in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MN). A string of journalism awards, including 1968 National Suburban Journalist of the Year, catapulted him into a career in Public Relations that encompassed stints with the giant advertising agency Campbell-Mithun, Twin Cities Area Metropolitan Transit Commission, and American Medical Association (Chicago).
In 1994 Kosmo attended the Houston Maritime Academy in New Orleans, LA following a three year navigation training program and was licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to operate 100 ton commercial passenger vessels as a U.S. Merchant Marine officer. He resigned his commission upon his retirement in 2009.
He was graduated from Metro State University with a BA in Communications, studied for an MBA at the University of St. Thomas, and was an Accredited Member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Kosmo and his wife Shelley have a blended family of eight adult children and ten grandchildren. He resides in
About John Kriesel -- Author, Still Standing
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. Today he is a brilliant beacon illuminating Dr. Peale’s gospel of positive thinking to students, veterans, Rotarians, church groups and anyone else who will listen. “You are not going to get blown up by a roadside bomb, but at some point you will face hardship—physical or emotional,” he asserts, “and you can deal with it.”
Working with author Jim Kosmo, Kriesel reveals his motivational story in “STILL STANDING: The Story of SSG John Kriesel,” winner of six national book awards.
Eight years after his near-death experience in Iraq Kriesel is Director of Veterans Services for Anoka County (MN), a frequent 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 a Republican 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.
The new legislator was anything but a quiet freshman in his first session 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. John planned to remain in the Legislature, but when his boys pleaded with him to spend more time coaching their football and baseball teams he put politics on hold.
Kriesel lives with his wife Katie and sons Elijah and Brody in Cottage Grove.