Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office
LAGO PATRIA, Italy - JFC Naples Command’s Senior Enlisted Leader, German Army Command Sergeant Major (OR-9) Jürgen STARK conducted a "CSEL Quarterly Hour” and self-development session based on the memoirs of Mr. Len Cooper, author of the memoir, "The Children of My Knee” May 21 in the theater.
JFC Commander American Admiral (OF-9) James G. Foggo highlighted the importance of NCOs as the backbone of the armed forces and shared his experiences with enlisted personnel and junior officers throughout his career.
Foggo talked about his grandfather, James Gordon Foggo, who enlisted in the Winnipeg Grenadiers in WWI and was battlefield promoted from Private to Brevet Captain.
"You are the engine of our headquarters,” Foggo concluded as he wished everyone a fruitful session and opened the floor to the second part of the day.
American Army Sergeant First Class (OR-7) Janisse Leonard prepared the audience and gave a glance of what to expect the following two hours.
She made the audience more sensitive on what would come by drawing the picture of a man who overcame many obstacles and who is still willing to give love instead of hate and she also added parts of her own past.
Len Cooper took over and brought evidence to the audience that overcoming obstacles in life is possible.
The audience saw Cooper growing up as a black child in Birmingham Alabama having no chance to flee this dangerous and violent environment; they saw a caring mother who tried to protect her three boys from the hostile world; they saw a homeless man in the streets of his nation’s capital eating things other people wouldn’t touch.
Cooper took the audience for a virtual walk through his life.
They saw a man who always got back on his feet, who is resilient, brave, and full of love, hope, and belief.
"Life is good,” Cooper ended with tears in his eyes, fighting his never-silent demons.
Cooper taught the audience an unforgettable lesson of self-development and resiliency.