Real heroes aren’t born. Rather, they are ordinary people who have risen to meet seemingly insurmountable challenges in the face of adversity. What really defines a person is the way they face those obstacles and overcome them. We don’t have to look to Hollywood to find examples; in fact, we need look no further than our backyards. My backyard, that is. My father, my dad, John Stermscheg, is such a man.
From humble beginnings to confinement in a German POW camp, he endured incredible hardship. But with his first taste of freedom, he was once again placed at the mercy of self-serving and corrupt men in communist post-war Yugoslavia. As you turn these pages, laugh, shake your head, or perhaps even shed a tear as you step into his world and catch a glimpse of a man who never gives up.
This is a true story. It wasn’t sugar-coated or embellished for a good read. Through the harrowing escapes and close calls of my own family history, it is my hope that people everywhere can look inside themselves to find the courage to become men and women of character, like my father, POW #74324.