The Last Word: Perseverance

Gerald (Jerry) Gerndt was a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. In 1967, he was shot down and then spent five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, including the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Today, he is a successful financial advisor.

“During my five and a half years as a P.O.W., I learned about the importance of choices. Although we were tortured, we had to choose between making the best of our time there or feeling sorry for ourselves. We made the best of it and learned from each other. We didn’t have pencils or books, but we could talk for hours; learning foreign languages, discussing history, planning vacations, etc. We learned about the importance of taking care of each other, and what is most important in life.

“I’ve been fortunate in the way my business career has evolved. I’ve always liked people and felt I could make a difference by helping them with their investments. My experience as a P.O.W. shaped my desire to work with ethical people who put their clients first and were passionate about giving back to others. Together, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Education: MBA from Stanford University

Military service:  U.S. Air Force fighter pilot (and P.O.W) in Vietnam War

Decorations: Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross

Community service: Serves on the advisory council of the Waukesha County Community Foundation, is a member of the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation Board and is chair of the endowment fund for the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra

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