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Injured Iraq veteran, former state rep to speak at Prayer Breakfast

Published 11:03am Thursday, April 18, 2013

It’s been an annual tradition of prayer and inspiration, and this year’s event is sure to bring many residents of Fergus Falls together for a morning of reflection.

The Community Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Noon Kiwanis at Grace United Methodist Church, is set for Monday, April 22 at 6:45 to 8 a.m. The guest presenter for this year will be John M. Kriesel, former state representative and Iraq war veteran.

Chad Miller, president of the Noon Kiwanis organization, said Kriesel’s presentation at this year’s event should give a good deal of reflection and lessons to carry through life. As an organization, Miller said the group is lucky to have such a well known person give their story to the community.

“We’re very happy to have a speaker who is so well known as Mr. Kriesel,” Miller said. “Hopefully it will bring a better understanding to what our guardsmen have gone through on their tours. The people who come should certainly leave having learned something.”

Kriesel lost both legs in 2006 during military combat after being in an explosion of a roadside bomb in Iraq. He now how prosthetic legs and is employed as a Veterans Service officer in Anoka County. He has been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal. His autobiography, “Still Standing,” details his military career and life since his combat injury.

Miller said Kriesel’s message should emphasize the importance of helping those in need and teamwork within a community setting.

“I hope it brings a sense of community involvement, having uplifting stories provide a positive message and life lessons on how to overcome life’s struggles,” Miller said. “My overall hope is that it reminds us all that we’re not an island unto ourselves, but part of a community.”

The breakfast has been used year to year by the group to instill this sense of unity and involvement in the community. While Kiwanis usually focus their efforts on helping kids around the world, Miller said these events help inspire an atmosphere within the community to reach that primary goal. With organizers preparing for over 100 people to attend the event, Miller said the goal is not always to sell seats.

“It’s a break even event for us, we don’t try to make any money,” Miller said. “It’s not directly related to our overall mission of helping kids, but more of our involvement as a service organization in the community.”

Tickets for the event are $6 and may be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, from any Noon Kiwanis Club Member or at the door.

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