U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Gerald Coffee is an inspiring example of the power of the human spirit to survive and triumph over the most adverse circumstances. As a navy pilot flying reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam he was shot down over the Gulf of Tonkin on February 3, 1966. Parachuting to safety, he spent over seven years in the infamous Hanoi prison called Hoa Lo -- the fiery forge. Jerry says, "When you’re by yourself and can go deeply within yourself, you come to really understand just how much people need a spiritual dimension to their lives. There’s no way that ideology or materialism or indoctrination can snuff out that little spark that tells us there’s more to life than human minds can begin to understand." Jerry draws not only from the insights derived from that incredible experience but also from the perspective of his unique experience since then. His military decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Two Bronze Stars, Air Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnam Service Medal with 13 stars. He has a Masters Degree in Political Science. His book, Beyond Survival, was featured in the condensed version in Reader’s Digest, Guideposts Magazine, and in audiocassette by Nightingale-Conant. In a national survey of corporate an association meeting planners, he was selected as one of America’s top ten speakers. His inspirational and motivational presentations cover topics of change, overcoming adversity, teamwork, leadership and communication. Beyond Survival and A Time for Heroes are reaffirmations of the invincibility of the human spirit.