Click on a link for the full testimonial
- Robin Turner | Sun Valley, Idaho
“I never had the chance to tell when I met you in SunValley, Idaho...I had the privilege of listening to your story sitting with a friend of mine, an older guy who had been a Central Intelligence Agency officer in a previous life. By the time I grew to know him, he was in his early seventies, still ramrod straight and tough as nails. I don't know much of his story other than that he'd spent much of his young career in Africa, mostly Nigeria. When you finished your talk, my friend and I walked back to our conference room. He was uncharacteristically quiet, even for the man of few words he was. I eventually caught his eye for a parity check. After a long, awkward moment, he gestured in the direction of the large luncheon room where you were still greeting people and said, "Now THAT's one-tough-dude!" I'm sure you've had better and worse things said about you, but I thought you'd enjoy that yarn.
Take care, George.
Airborne all the way!
Sun Valley, Idaho”
- Michael Norgren | RE: Operations Manager, Operation: Tohidu
“Good Morning George!
Thank you for the email and great to hear that you made another successful landing.
You were spectacular in your presentation and definitely enhanced our program through the stratosphere, we love you George!
R and V/R,
Operations Manager, Operation: Tohidu
Melwood, Nanjemoy, MD 20662”
- Jim Tietjen | RE: Chief Auditor, Exec. V.P., Corp. Audit and Security Services,
I just wanted to thank you again for joining our Town Hall meeting yesterday at Capital One. Your remarks were unbelievably inspiring---you reminded me that nothing in life can be taken for granted. I will also remember your comments about character and integrity---it defines who we are and how we are known.
Thank you for sharing your story---you positive message will change lives—and reminds us all that it is up to each of us to look for the positives in life.
––and, as we approach Memorial Day Weekend, thank you very much for your service to our country.
Chief Auditor, Executive Vice President
Corporate Audit and Security Services
- Dale | RE: British Columbia Fire Training Officers Association Conference
“Dear Captain Burk,
I don’t know if you remember me as I am sure you meet thousands of new people each year. We met at the British Columbia Fire Training Officers Conference in Langley B.C. I shared with you my story of my battle against PTSD and alcoholism and how it was not until I was thrown in jail that I finally manned up and dealt with my psychological issues through counseling and self awareness. I really enjoyed the conversation we had in the foyer of the conference center that afternoon. I wanted to send you an email thanking you for attending the conference and sharing your story to inspire others. I meant to touch base shortly after the conference but as is so often the case life gets busy. I recently finished reading your book – the bridge never crossed. This reminded me how important is to not let our lives get so busy that we forget to stay connected with people. One of the reasons I wanted to reach out to you was to apologize on behalf of us Canadians for a blunder I noticed during the opening ceremonies. When the American national anthem was played and you saluted your flag – I did not see an American flag for you to salute. I felt uncomfortable at the moment but once I realized you were a Veteran I was embarrassed and ashamed that it had been overlooked. I should have said something at the conference but I never did. I am sorry this was overlooked.
On a personal note I wanted to thank you for sharing your story and allowing God to use you to deliver a message. I find it funny that in your book people ask you why you think you survived, for me it is clear – only a rare person could survive those circumstances and an even rarer person could use that experience to grow, become a better person, and inspire people by sharing their story. I believe quite simply that God chose you and molded you to help people through sharing what you have learned through your trials and tribulations. Out of everyone on that plane that day you were the one he chose to deliver a message. Had you not survived, the crash would have been a blip in the history books and like George Bailey in the movie it’s a wonderful life – you would not have touched and affected as many people’s lives as you have. You have inspired me. I see offices with nice pictures on the walls with words and messages printed on them that are meant to inspire me, they don’t. Words don’t inspire me, people inspire me, and Captain you are a person that has inspired me.
Anyone can speak, a few can lead, but only a rare person can inspire.
For the last 3 years I have volunteered at Burn Camp for children who are burn survivors, after the camp is finished and I am exhausted I think to myself why am I doing this when I could be at home relaxing with my Wife. Then I remind myself how lucky I am to have a good life, a good job, and my health and how these kids have gone through hell – so I come back the next year, but the thought of quitting is still there. After reading your book I now have an even better understanding of the hell these kids go through in their recovery after the burn injury. I honestly don’t know if as an adult I would be strong enough to go through what you have described – I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to go through it as a child. Thank you for strengthening my resolve in continuing to volunteer at Burn Camp for years to come.
As human beings we are always asking ourselves if we are making a difference. You are making a difference Captain Burk, keep up the good work.
- Drew Sinclair | Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Services
My Chief just asked me to lunch and I declined, this past month has been a juggling of my priorities by and for others.
This email to you has been unduly overdue and I hope it finds you well and that you and your wife had a safe journey home.
I have visited your page a few times and am part way through “The Bridge Never Crossed” and though I have started this email in my mind I’m afraid a string of deaths and funerals has plagued my family of late, some expected and unfortunately some not, but all challenging.
The catalyst for this email today is my 12 year old son Aidan at his Grade 7 school leaving ceremony. He spoke of our family legacy at his school, this fall will be the first year in forty without a Sinclair either attending or working there. He delivered 3 inspirational quotes, two from Albert Einstein and one that I cannot recall at this instance.
When he was finished one of his teacher’s praised him with the words from Maya Angelou “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I knew then I would write this email today and I remembered your quote “If you expect a difference, make one. If you want a miracle, be one.”
If I may boast he was then awarded with the “Hawk Award”, the school’s top award for excelling in Academics, Athletics, and Citizenship.
Again, Thank You, I did not know how desperately I needed to hear you speak, and also how blessed I feel to have been able to spend time with you.
While in Langley I was also happy to be able to build on my friendship with our friend Brian Ulle and Chief Clausen.
My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you sir.
Deputy Fire Chief
Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Services
Regional District of East Kootenay
British Columbia, Canada”
- Scott McCabe | US Army
During my sophomore year at West Point, you visited and gave a talk to my class. I was going through a rough spot at the time, and I asked you a question after your presentation. If I recall correctly, I asked you how you learned to like yourself after your recovery. You replied that it was an ongoing process, and that you found strong meaning in helping others. You also said to me that at this point in my cadet career, I had probably pushed myself much further than I thought I could. It blew my mind when I realized you were right.
Since I talked to you, I have continued to push myself to do things I didn't think I was capable of. I've done rigorous training with Green Berets, I continued to survive academically, and I will graduate in May and commission as an infantry officer.
The summer after you spoke to us, I attended SERE-C at Camp Mackall in Ft. Bragg. It's a part of the qualification course to become a special forces soldier. I realized for the first time what the basis of any man's self-worth should be. If I remember correctly, you said that on your deathbed, all you have to your name is your character. All other things deteriorate in age - athleticism, mental sharpness, and many other things besides strength of character. I realized that self-worth should therefore be based on some aspect of your own character that you strongly admire. I learned how tough I was at SERE, and just how valuable that really is. I may get weak and senile when I'm 80 years old, but nothing can ever change the fact that I'm a tough son of bitch. And I can proudly carry that my entire life.
You helped me discover this, and my short discussion with you helped me so much during a time of self-doubt and depression. Considering and praying about what you said has helped me become the man God and the Army needs me to be.
I hope this note finds you in good health.
God Bless and thanks for what you do.
- Mike Mitchell | Wells Fargo Bank
“Good Morning George
Just wanted you to know that my wife bought me your book for Christmas and I was glued to it. Finished it the other day. You are one helluva man. A true inspiration. Next time you are coming up email me and I will buy you lunch. Thanks George. I wish I had known then what I know now.
Wells Fargo Bank
Overland Park, Kansas”
- N.W. Doeller | MIDN USN
It was a pleasure hearing you speak last Friday at our Character Capstone Day, and even more of a pleasure having you join our table's discussions.
Your story is powerful and inspiring, and I am very grateful that you gave each of us a copy of your book, The Bridge Never Crossed.
Your small pieces of advice will stick with me; stand up and be confident when addressing a room, force yourself to look others in the eye by checking their eye color, and having something, like candy, to make people smile and remember you.
Thank you so much. - Nick
- Jonathan Z. French | MIDN 2/C, USN
“Good Evening Captain George Burk,
We spoke this afternoon after you presented and took questions from 27th Company at the US Naval Academy. I am MIDN 2/C Jonathan French, and I asked you about how you find the drive and determination to figure out and follow your purpose in this life during times of struggle. I greatly appreciated your answer, specifically your statement on taking life one bite/slice of the pie at a time, the whole pie being your dreams. I also appreciated your thoughts on how life will always have its struggles, but if you learn to enjoy the every day despite these struggles, you can be successful.
I wanted to connect with you via email because of how much of an impact you had on me today. My dream is to become a Naval Submarine officer, and to do this, I must excel academically at the Naval Academy. Today I was very much on the brink of giving up on that dream, I feeling that I would never be able to overcome the challenges ahead, that I was incapable of it in fact. But your story and your thoughts worked to inspire me, to pull me away from that verge and gain both the determination and positive attitude that I desperately need to be successful. I want to have as big an impact on this world as I possibly can in what time I have on it, and I cannot do that if I give up in the face of adversity and challenge. Thank you very much for reminding me of that. Your words were greatly appreciated.
Jonathan Z. French
MIDN 2/C, USN”
- Todd Mitchell, Bismarck, ND
"Dear Captain George,
"In 30~ years of doing radio interviews, Captain George has easily proven to be the most articulate and fascinating. It's not just a narrative...he takes you WITH him. Yet he comes through as genuine, compassionate, all while proving that any adversity can, in fact, be overcome. I'd say his story should be made to a movie, but that might put his story on a level far beneath its worth. And I wouldn't trust anyone trust anyone but him to tell it. Not just because it is his, but because he tells it so eloquently. So effectively. So brilliantly. And so breathtakingly. His is far from being some story of overcoming a military tragedy; it is championing life in the face of its very ending. You simply cannot turn away...and you cannot turn away unchanged. I look forward to reading his books, and meeting him in person soon. If ever given the chance, do NOT pass on it. Hear him. Read him. See him. You WILL NOT be disappointed! And you WILL be changed. There simply aren't enough Captain Georges in the world..."
Todd Mitchell, Host/Program Director
K-FYR AM/KFYY FM Radio
Bismarck, North Dakota"
- Cadet Kristen Smeland, USMA @ West Point
Just this afternoon I had the honor of hearing you speak at the United States Military Academy, I am a Cadet at West Point. I simply wanted to express my thanks and gratitude towards you. I find myself emotional; not sad, regretful, or horrified. To be honest I don't know what I'm feeling.
Maybe I just feel lucky to have been in the right auditorium at the right time. I chose to come to West Point because I wanted (and still want) to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Hearing you talk has ensured me that I am at the right place. I hope to emulate your strength and positivity so that I too can touch the lives of those around me.
CDT Kristen Smeland
Class of 2015"
- Brad Volk, Bismarck, ND
Can’t tell what an honor it was to have you as the keynote at our Welcome Home event! Have heard nothing but great comments about your address to the Vets and attendees. Didn’t get to spend as much time with you as I had wanted to but I have a feeling it will not be the last time we will see each other.
I WILL wave the towel for Pittsburgh (when they don’t play my Vikings!) and it will remind me of your story every time I do. The challenge coin – will be near and dear to my heart forever. I know what they mean to those that hand them out and WHY they hand them out.
I am humbled each time I find one in the palm of my hand.
Again, what an honor and privilege to have met you and be able to hear your story.
Ride Captain – Mandan
North Dakota Patriot Guard"
- Gordon Reichard, Telluride, CO
"Captain Burk did his presentation last evening for 18 members of the TMC staff. To a person, they felt like it was the best presentation they have heard in the last 5 years because it wasn’t baked/canned. His sage observations and wise advice was well received and meaningful.
Telluride Medical Center
- Tim Noonan, Hazelwood, MO
Sorry so long in response and thanks for reaching out. I am honored to know you and know of your story of overcoming adversity and finding a way to serve. I read this morning a small bit of Joseph Campbell and this quote:
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us."
I thought of you. You embody that – you have taken the hero’s journey and are bringing back a wonderful message for those willing to listen and be open.
Be well. Stay in touch.
I remain, Semper Fidelis
Phantom Works Ventures
Defense, Space & Security
The Boeing Company
- Eric Adolphi, Telluride, CO
I was very thankful for the time you spent with us. You are doing good work!
Ship, Shipmates, Self
Telluride Medical Center
Telluride, CO 81435"
- Bill Kelty, Phoenix, AZ
"Just listened to your message this evening. I’m moved by your passion and belief in life. Ignition and inspiration! Lead on! Respectfully, Bill Kelty,(a fan) Phoenix, AZ"
- Tom Walsh, Petaluma, CA
It was a pleasure and an honor to meet you the other day. The time we all spent at the crash site was quite surreal. It was hard to imagine that such a peaceful and beautiful mountainside near the San Francisco Bay was once the scene of a deadly and tragic air crash, and one from which you miraculously survived. The magnitude of the incident was evident in the unceasing chirping of Matt Cerkel's metal detector. (It seemed he couldn't go anywhere without a chirp, all he had to do was to turn it on and start digging under his feet!)
In reading your book, I was taken aback by the number of coincidences that favored you that day. Also too, your own persistent question, "why me?" I think to all of us that now have had the privilege to meet you, the answer is self evident. The messages of hope, facing life's obstacles with humor and grace, and with the humbleness you are able to deliver these lessons speaks volumes to why you were spared. As to coincidences, I have heard that these are God's way of remaining anonymous.
ps - should my editor approve, I'd like to do a follow up article here shortly on your recent visit.
God bless. (ah, but he already has in your case!)"
- Lola Jean Bajsarowicz, Berkeley, CA
"In 1971 while in the American Hospital in Paris with a ruptured appendix and total peritonitis I had a delirious dream in which I thanked God and said, "I only hope I am worthy of this suffering." I've never understood what it meant until I heard you say in one of your videos: "I hope I've earned the life I've been given." Thank you dear spirit for helping me see the light. God Bless You. You DO make a difference in peoples' lives...Lola Jean Bajsarowicz, Berkeley, CA."
- Ray DeBoer, Hazardous Chemicals Preparedness & Response Program Coordinator, Bismarck, North Dakota
"2 December 2010
If I may call you my friend; I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for agreeing to be our “Keynote Speaker” at the North Dakota 2010 Hazardous Materials Conference.
We received numerous compliments and praise on your presentation and the message it conveyed. You helped make the conference the success it was. I sincerely appreciate your participation and once again thank you for being a part of the conference.
Hazardous Chemicals Preparedness & Response Program Coordinator
ND Department of Emergency Services-
Division of Homeland Security
Bismarck, North Dakota"
- DC Patrick Carnahan, Deputy Chief, Dugway Fire & Rescue, Dugway, Utah
Only because you made it clear you were a Steelers fan in Dallas do I dare address you by your first name. I feel that bond alone allows for social etiquette to be case aside. It was a pleasure to hear you speak at the DOD conference and an honor to meet and talk with you afterwards. It isn’t very often that a speaker can truly touch the lives of firefighters. Your story about how you survived when so many others didn’t is something most will never have to experience. I guess that is a bond that I felt with you after your presentation. You bear both the physical and emotional scars where the majority of us only carry the burden of emotional trauma and pain of why we were spared. You are truly an inspiration and I know I am a better man for having been in your presence.
I look forward to crossing paths with you again.
Dugway Fire & Rescue
- LTC Glenn A. Waters, Deputy Director for Simon Center for Professional Military Ethic (SCPME), West Point, NY
"Dear Mr./CPT(Ret) Burk,
It was a great pleasure to meet you Friday. My apologies for not spending more time with you. I did have the pleasure to attend your lecture with the sophomore cadets from the class of 2012. You did an outstanding job. You truly had the cadets engaged throughout your lecture, which is not an easy task. Your message was upfront and honest. Thank you for your positive energy and time.
God Speed and Blessing.
LTC Glenn A. Waters
Deputy Director for Simon Center for Professional Military Ethic (SCPME)
West Point, NT 10996"
- Virginia M. Wright-Peterson, Operations Manager, Student Affairs, Mayo School of Health Sciences, Rochester, MN
"September 29, 2009
Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret)
Dear Captain Burk,
Thank you for taking the time to share your inspirational story at our annual tri-site convocation.
Your story and comments encourage personal persistence and emphasize the importance of instilling hope in patients and not ever losing it ourselves. This is a wonderful message for students who are aspiring to careers in health care. Your story is one I am sure they will remember for some time to come. We sincerely appreciate your touching and memorable contribution to our special day.
Our sincere thanks for making this year’s convocation a success!
Virginia M. Wright-Peterson
Operations Manager, Student Affairs
Mayo School of Health Sciences
- Rick Edinger, Division Chief, Personnel Management & Development, Chesterfield Fire & EMS
It was both an honor and pleasure to meet you at the recent IAFC HazMat Conference.
I enjoyed speaking with you at the wine reception and was certainly moved by your talking during the opening session.
I serve as the chief training officer of a fire department in central Virginia as well and president of the Virginia association of hazardous materials response Specialists (VAHMRS-www.virginiahazmat.org. In both roles I have an interest in bringing you in to speak to our members.
Knowing (hoping) that this economy won’t last forever, I would ask if you could provide me with a sense of what a speaking engagement would cost us. Given that information I could plan for next year and hopefully get an early start on your calendar.
Again, great to meet you. Your message and experience is both fascinating and inspirational.
Division Chief, Personnel Management & Development
Chesterfield Fire & EMS
- P J. Robinson, Fire Chief, Valero Fire Department
It is I who want to thank you your inspirational message and wisdom. You certainly have a way of taking all of life’s daily issues and struggles and putting them in their proper perspective. I did read your book this past weekend (I could not it down once I started…which is really something for me since I’m not a big reader.) I enthusiastically told my parents in Wexford, PA about my meeting you and your book and intend to send them your book so they can read it, too.
I am glad that you made it home safely and wish you well during your upcoming surgery.
Take care and God Bless.
PS: Go Steelers (and Penguins too)
P J. Robinson, Fire Chief
Valero Fire Department"
- Josph J. Leonard, JR, LCDR, USGC, Chief, Planning & Readiness Sector Houston-Galveston
It is us who should thank YOU. Thank you once again for one of the most moving presentations I’ve listened to in over 28 years in uniform.
I look forward to reading you book (starting tonight!) along with anything else you send my way. You have made an impression and have found many friends in the Houston area.
God Bless you and the United States!
JOSPH J. LEONARD, JR
Chief, Planning & Readiness
- David Windsor, PGA, Executive Director, Adaptive Golf Foundation of America
- David Cockbain, Australia
I look forward to receiving your articles and reflecting on them in my quiet time. Just lately I have been part of the behind the scenes crew in the lengthy extrication of two trapped miners in Tasmania and carried with me the "coach them to commit" article which I used to great success. Keep up the good work.
"December 17, 2007
Dear Capt. Burk,
On behalf of Florida Adaptive Golf, Inc., I would like to sincerely thank you for all your support, efforts and valuable time to make the launch of American Veterans Adaptive Golf such a great success.
Your presentation at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital Friday, November 9, 2007 was truly an honor for all of us. It marked the true beginning of an emotional and memorable weekend for many. As I am sure you have done in the past, you set the tone for everyone in the room that morning that anything and everything is attainable with support and hard work. The result, many injured and disabled veterans who never thought about giving golf a try came out to the golf course the following day due to your inspiring, motivating message. The love and dedication you have for sharing your message to help others believe they can do something today to make a difference tomorrow was apparent from what we experienced and the compliments we received on your behalf.
It is truly an honor and pleasure to have you as part of our mission and we look forward to the next opportunity to have your support.
David Windsor, PGA
Adaptive Golf Foundation of America