Please join us at the National Infantry Museum on June 29, 2017 from 10am to 12pm for a book signing event with Gold Star mom Jill Stephenson. She will sign copies of “Heart of A Ranger: The True Story of Cpl. Ben Kopp, American Hero in Life and Death” in the NIM lobby. As a Gold Star mother, Stephenson said: “I don’t believe Ben’s life was cut short — I think he lived the exact amount of days he was expected to live and I never wanted to get in the way because he felt his purpose, and it was between him and God and it was not for me to say.”
“I was seeing the bigger picture and God’s plan for his life because I believe our days are numbered out before we arrive as an infant and before we are born,” she said.
Stephenson said “I think the book will speak to many audiences — mothers and veterans and those who are serving now or those veterans in the community and friends who went off to the military and their family members.”
The biography was written by KSTP-TV anchor Bill Lunn. Although this is his first book, Lunn is not new to writing and has worked as a newspaper and radio reporter and he wrote for a wire service out of Chicago.
When Jill Stephenson received the call that her twenty-one-year-old son, Cpl. Ben Kopp, had been shot in the leg while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, her fear was that he would lose his leg. But soon her fears would be realized in more devastating ways than she ever expected. Due to complications, Ben went into a coma, and eight days later he was pronounced brain dead. Cpl. Ben Kopp, an American hero who was credited with saving the lives of six of his fellow soldiers on the battlefield, was struck down defending his country; he died a Ranger, a warrior, and a patriot. And his heroism would not stop at death.
Through the donating of his organs, bone, skin, and tissue, the mischievous and fun-loving kid from Rosemount, Minnesota went on to save the lives of four Americans and benefited the lives of more than sixty. After reporting Cpl. Kopp’s story, broadcast journalist Bill Lunn couldn’t forget it, referring to it as the most compelling story of his career. In Heart of a Ranger, Lunn follows Ben’s life from his childhood in the Midwest, to the battlefields of southern Afghanistan, to the chest of his heart donor recipient in Chicago. Through interviews with loved ones, service members, and Ben’s heart recipient, Heart of a Ranger captures the true story of American bravery and sacrifice. In these pages and in reality, the impact of Ben’s life beats on.